- This is Not the Way it Should Feel to Teach - December 2, 2020
- Remote Elementary Teaching Sucks. Get Over It and Prepare for Survival - October 27, 2020
- Betsy Devos Need to Spend More Time In Real Schools with Real Teachers - September 8, 2020
- Teaching from Home Part 2: Using Google Classroom to Stay Semi Connected - April 9, 2020
- Teaching from Home: Tips for Focusing on Results- One Teacher’s Reflection - March 29, 2020
- A Pandemic Brings Opportunity to Rethink Standardized Testing - March 23, 2020
- Getting Students to Write (Part 1) - August 7, 2019
- Why I Worry About My Students - July 9, 2019
- Activists Are Needed in Education - May 13, 2019
- Your Students and Video Games: Adult Supervision Required - April 29, 2019
I am thankful for my childhood, my family, and all the experiences I have had. I catch myself sometimes making a reflexive mental diagnosis for students who come from broken homes and bad influences.; judgments regarding why work doesn’t get done, why they behave a certain way, and so on. Despite what education attackers want as the overriding narrative to explain student struggles (failing schools, overpaid/overprotected teachers, unions…)-poverty and school funding inequities (the real “status quo”) prevail as the most correlative factors.
But after I mentally slap myself for having the nerve to make that mental diagnosis-I stop and do an assessment of my own childhood, and it goes something like this:
1) My mother was a sixteen when I was born.
2) My father was twenty, from the same high school, recently graduated and enlisted in the military during the Vietnam War (it was 1967). I was born on a military base in Georgia, far away from our home state of New York.
3) While there are pictures of my dad, in uniform, holding me as a baby-I cannot remember a day when my parents were “together” living as a couple.
4) When I was little, my dad would pick me up for the weekend, or have me for some extra time on holidays and summer vacations, and we would often hit several bars or visit with his friends where I saw and did stuff that kids shouldn’t see and do. Today, as a teacher, if I suspected a student was involved in or exposed to the same-I would be obligated to make a “hotline” call.
So how is it I stayed out of trouble, got good grades, didn’t have whatever served as child protective services investigating my situation, basically turned out okay with a beautiful family and what I would call (despite my wife’s objections) a pretty good head on my shoulders…?
I had and have incredible people in my family, with a combination of depth in character and experiences not often found in this world especially in this day and age. While I don’t remember my parents together, my dad was always there. Calling during the week, picking me up on weekends and whenever he could. To this day, my parents come together at my family events and talk, joke, laugh. I have never once seen them be unkind to each other ever. He has always been the most generous and gentle soul I know, with the funniest, raunchiest sense of humor. To this day, anyone who has ever known him or worked with him can’t stop describing what a great guy he is and I always agree: he’s the best man I know.