Category: Blog

Preparing for the state assessment together

  State testing is a serious topic, so I thought I’d lighten the atmosphere with a joke.   TEACHER (to class): Can someone tell me “How do you spell ‘crocodile?’” STUDENT: K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’ TEACHER: No, that’s wrong STUDENT: But you asked me how I spell it!   One day, the student might make a good lawyer. But, in a world with…

My Instructional Coach and Me

One of the best professional development opportunities offered at my school has been the regular and frequent observations and debrief conversations with my instructional coach. I believe these observations and follow up conversations are the single biggest contributor to my development as a teacher.   Once a cutting-edge idea, instructional coaches are now common place in many schools across America. The…

Mentoring: Meeting the social and emotional needs of scholars

I grew up in what people in Memphis call “South Memphis”. I was born to a teenage mother and father. If we consider what statistics say about the children born to teenage parents, I was destined to repeat the cycle.  Even though my mother was young, she realized she could not do it alone. So, I had a strong support…

But, what can I do at home?

Throughout my years of teaching, I have had the privilege of working with many different populations of students with varying backgrounds and academic levels. I have conducted countless parent meetings about grades, opportunities, and plans for their child’s academic future, and I find that parents and guardians always have the same question. What can I do for my child, at…

Teacher Professional Development: Getting Better at Getting Better

How I left a Teach like a Champion workshop inspired and prepared to take the next steps U.S. schools spend considerable resources on teacher professional development. TNTP’s fascinating report, The Mirage, found that, “districts spend an average of nearly $18,000 per teacher, per year on development efforts.” Yet, in my teaching career, I have attended far too many professional development sessions that…

Reading Growth Changes Grade Levels & Lives

Like far too many students across our city, Terrence (not his real name) never fully learned how to read in elementary school. Understanding Terrence’s story is essential to understanding the conversation about school choice, for it is families of kids like Terrence who are increasingly looking for options beyond their neighborhood public school. Here’s Terrence’s Story… Born premature at 32…

Teachers as healthy models of behavior

I have a vision: A classroom of 25 nine-year-olds is abuzz with students discussing the story they are reading. One student asks, “Why did Charlotte decide to use all her energy to help Wilbur?” Two students excitedly start to answer at the same time. They pause and one student says, “You can go first.” The other student says “Thank you”…