About Riina Hirsch

I have been an educator for 17 years. I love teaching like breathing. I am a former luddite turned blogger and professional development nerd. My BA in English is from Earlham College, my MAT is from Brown University, and my EdD in Teacher Leadership is from Walden University. I am also a Level 1 Google Certified Educator.

Opinion: Age-Grading is Stupid

Age-grading is, in a word, stupid. It is built on a cultural conception of development that precludes the ability of individuals of different ages to have healthy, appropriate interactions and learn from one another. Unless, of course, a clear power dynamic defines the relationship: teacher-student, babysitter-child, employer-worker, coach-player etc., then the interaction is sanctioned. Instead [...]

On Being Radicalized: A Teacher’s Struggle

My whole life I have wondered how people become radicalized. What prompts someone to follow what started as logical beliefs to a dangerous extreme? It has always seemed so irrational to me. Now, I think I get it. The current political climate is testing me, radicalizing me, despite my best efforts to the contrary. There [...]

Reading and Writing Volume Counts

Volume is its own goal. The more we read and write, the better we read and write. That doesn't mean volume alone leads to excellence. It doesn't. But progress without volume is almost impossible. Last winter, I was privileged to attend the regional ELA teacher's conference in Missouri called Write to Learn. Two of the [...]

The High Expectations Myth

The high expectations myth is a pernicious, insidious mantra. It is the notion that if I, as a teacher, say and believe I hold high expectations, it is magically true. Examining actual teaching practices is neither necessary nor worthwhile. I have better things to do. Change or growth or flexibility aren't needed. It is the [...]

I Left The Classroom for A Central Office Job…This is My Letter to My Former Students

Dear Students, I didn't leave because of you. I don't love you any less. I won't stop thinking about you or missing you or hoping you are well. You know how much I love you. I won't stop wondering about how you are doing or forget your sweet faces or devious antics. I can't imagine life [...]