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Category: Stories

The Majority-Only’s Dilemma

“I make $1,100 per two-week pay period. Union dues are $60–80, and Arizona puts 11% of my check into a retirement fund,” says Molly Hanzel, a science teacher at Carl Hayden High in Phoenix.     Hanzel says the Classroom Teachers Association (CTA) maintains “a very strong presence at Hayden.” They recruit at the beginning […]

Solving for Today

Last week, my mind began to wander during a meeting and, instead of doodling, I wrote out the date on a post-it and started to “do the date”. How does one “do the date,” you ask? Simple: Today is 3/15/2016. Using those numbers, in that order, create a balanced equation using mathematical operations.     […]

”But I Wanted to Teach”

  Mr. J was timid. He had a relaxed nature and an obsession with superheroes. With his gentle smile and calming demeanor, it wasn’t surprising most of his students loved him. It didn’t hurt he had Hollywood good looks either. I liked him, but I never truly connected with him until he revealed his story […]

The McDonaldization of Pedagogy

Teach like a Champion by Doug Lemov Teach Like a Champion is a teacher training book written by Doug Lemov. It contains 49 teaching techniques he claims will transform inexperienced educators into “master teachers.” Since its publication in 2010, teacher prep programs, charter school networks, and public school districts have implemented TLAC into their training protocol. […]

Adjusting for Poverty

In a recent NYT article, Eduardo Porter outlines the Economic Policy Institute’s report whose findings conclude that once U.S. students’ PISA scores are adjusted for social status, we’re actually doing significantly better than we thought we were. “Then the researchers divided students into groups depending on the number of books in their homes, a measure […]

The Real McCoy

In honor of World Teachers Day, I’m sharing a piece I wrote on Yo Mista! a few years ago about one of the most passionate and inspirational teachers I’ve ever had. I’ve made some minor edits, as I originally wrote this when I was still teaching high school. Here it is: I recently Googled “John […]

Hipster Ice Cream

“Yo Mista… why this place really called the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop? Do they really mean gay?” This place does well with immature teenagers I recently took two of some of my closest students out for ice cream to tell them I wasn’t coming back to teach this school year. I’ve known David and […]

Why I Quit Teaching

I’ve decided to quit teaching. After six grueling years teaching high school math to New York City’s most at-risk students, I’ve become jaded. And no, it’s not because of the kids. They were the most compelling reason against leaving. It’s just everything else. When I first started teaching, I walked into the classroom absolutely on […]