The Apple on ThisTeacher’s Desk

I have an apple on my desk. (not this one—this one just looks prettier)

An apple—that sweet symbol of education: Knowledge, as many have depicted it as Eve’s forbidden fruit; Nutrition, in mind and body; Red, the color of exes on wrong answers and of the weight of test grades; Folk patriotism, as Johnny Appleseed’s token gift; Autumn, when school activities begin; Frontier Heritage, the rustic nostalgia of the little schoolhouse in the country; Well-roundedness, like the Greeks, like the Renaissance; Social Support, as the apple was one of the gifts given to teachers by parents to feed them; hard cider, because alcohol is a common use of retreat from the stress of teaching.
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Blacksburgia webisode 29: Culturally Naive Writing Teacher

The Culturally Naive  Writing Teacher

Bridgette takes a writing course offered to the community, and her classmates are a diverse set of community immigrants and international students.  The teacher begins making good-intentioned but awkward comments about his classroom being like the UN and assumes he knows about other cultures, only for the students to give him blank stares like he’s an idiot.  He keeps apologizing for the English language being so complicated until an Indian student raises his hand and says “actually, English was very easy for me to learn,” and several students nod their heads.  The teacher, flustered, begins making the assignments harder to prove that English is so hard to learn.

English “Thing” of the Day—A simple classroom atmosphere tool

I started at the beginning of my teaching career, based on my belief that students need exposure to the world of language outside of instruction and assessment.  I got the idea from Billy Collins, who implemented a “poem-a-day” program in various public schools that involved a reading of a poem a day, without any required instructional connection whatsoever.  Mere exposure for the sake of it being something in our language.
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This is What It’s Like to Be a Teacher: Day 1

Today is my first day as a public school teacher.

I’ve taught before in universities, and subbed long-term in public schools.  But this is my first time as a full-time teacher in a public school.  I am teaching high schoolers the art of language.
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Electing Faithfulness part 9: Our Future is the Hands of our Students

[back to part 8: The War on Some Drugs]

“Our Future is the Hands of our Students”
or
“High Stakes and Low Standards”
or
“High Standards, but Low Barriers”
or
“Repeal NCLB already!”

Our school systems rank toward the bottom of the list when compared with those of other industrialized countries.  Sure, we may be able to brag about churning out all kinds of Nobel winners and innovators, but most of our students are graduating without the knowledge they should have, meaning that those Nobel prize winners stand on the other side of a gap too far from most of our other students.  Our schools pass a lot of kids because our schools are too easy.
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