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Feb 04 2011

The Peculiarity of 12th Graders

For whatever reason, I keep moving up the grade-level ladder as each semester passes: Fall 2009: 2 periods of 10th grade and 1 period of 11th grade English Spring 2010: 1 period of 10th grade and 2 periods of 11th grade English Fall 2010: 2 periods of 11th grade English and 1 period of Journalism…

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Jan 24 2011

Fresh Idea for a Fresh Beginning?

Just like that, our first semester ended, almost as soon as it had started, last Friday. And, just like that, Spring 2011 begins tomorrow. As they say, “no rest for the weary.” Objectively-speaking, last semester did not go that well. I certainly had an interesting situation, given my more-than-5-week absence from school due to grand…

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Sep 04 2010

Pondering The Practice Process

One of the unforeseen positive outcomes of participating, as a “teacher-blogger,” in a recent Education Sector policy panel was that I met some amazing teacher-bloggers. Dina Strasser over at The Line always has insightful posts on various topics in education.  Recently, I read a guest post on her blog by Kathleen Cushman–whom Dina proclaims is…

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For as far back as I can remember being a newspaper-reader, Randy Cohen’s “The Ethicist” column in the New York Times has been a favorite weekly read. In it, Mr. Cohen provides pointed, and sometimes-snarky, ethical advice to reader-provided moral problems.  I enjoy reading “The Ethicist.” Though I don’t think his moral philosophy is necessarily…

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Aug 29 2010

Overheard in a DCPS Classroom…

“Mr. K, what am I supposed to do?  There ain’t no more desks.” -Tardy student, observing that her tardiness led to the denial of an opportunity to find a good desk in the classroom. This first week has been somewhat of shock to my system–albeit a positive one. Having just finished a semester in which…

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Aug 27 2010

First Day of School and Politics

The first day of school rolled around and, without much fanfare, everyone made it through alright. My own first few days were uneventful; I had a solid start and I’m ready to work for a new (and old) set of students.  But what was particularly interesting about this year was that many extra eyes–from around…

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Aug 09 2010

New Beginnings

I realize that I’ve forgotten to answer a question that many readers may have been asking recently: where am I teaching this coming school year? I’m happy to report that I will, believe it or not, be returning to my old school. The explanation is complicated (I don’t even fully comprehend how it happened either),…

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Oct 23 2009

Why We Reread

Many of my students see no value in rereading.  A few weeks ago, we read Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”.  When we announced that we would be reading this (brilliant and suspenseful) story, some students complained that they had already read the story and “knew the ending” (as if that was all that were…

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The “Where I’m From” poems somehow seem to unlock my students’ minds.  There must be something particularly stimulating about searching deep inside one’s soul for the language to express one’s identity.  As previously discussed, I had my summer school students write “Where I’m From” poems.  ER’s poem was excellent.  But, now that I have more…

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Oct 04 2009

A RIF Shift

Something unbelievable just happened.  Yes, I’m still in disbelief.  I still haven’t fully processed my thoughts.  I keep trying to catch my breath, but my breath keeps on running away. One simple phone call after lunch this beautiful Sunday afternoon changed my whole perspective for the year…

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Oct 04 2009

Pink Friday

Friday was a tumultuous day in the DC Public Schools.  388 DCPS employees received pink slips, including 229 teachers.  Hawk One, which was experiencing financial problems, went bankrupt Thursday night, leaving DCPS schools with no security guards during a tension-fraught day.  Due to the sensitivity of the firings that took place all across the district,…

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Sep 29 2009

“Why I Hate School”

MR (not Michelle Rhee) is an older student still taking 10th-grade English.  Part of why he, at age 17, is in the class is that he doesn’t engage in school: he rarely shows up and, when he does, he stares off into space in the back of the room, no matter how often a teacher…

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Sep 26 2009

Babbles with a Budding Barber

Earlier, I thought that girls had a better fashion sense than boys.  But a recent conversation with a male student shows me that boys consciously think about style, too.  CG, a tall, lanky student with spiky hair, asked me a question out of the blue: “Mr. K, can I give you a haircut?” I couldn’t…

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Sep 23 2009

Dressing to Impress?

It appears as though girls have a keener sense of fashion than boys.  At least, this is the conclusion I’ve drawn after today.  Here’s why: During second period, as I was moving around the back of the classroom, MW blurted out, “Mr. K, you not matching.”  Made curious by her comment, I looked at her…

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Sep 20 2009

Heads Will Roll

(The theme song for this post is here. Listen to it.) At the moment, the DC Public Schools are in trouble.  After a hiring spree that on-boarded over 900 teachers this summer (bringing the number of teachers to about 4,000), DCPS has discovered that it needs to cut up to $40 million out of its…

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“Froward” is my current favorite word.  Essentially it is a Middle English synonym for “intractable”.  The word is uttered often by the domineering male protagonists in reference to their wives in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” (thanks to the generosity of Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham, I was able to secure tickets to this…

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Sep 10 2009

Finally, A Placement!

Only yesterday, I was lamenting the fact that I was still unplaced.  Well, it turns out the wait is over: I will be reporting to a high school tomorrow morning.  The 5 weeks and 5 days that I’ve spent in DC waiting for a placement has finally come to an end.  Hopefully, what that means…

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First, a little placement update.  I’m one of three DC CMs still unplaced.   Although I should expect to be in a co-teaching situation by the end of this week, there is a possibility that I will not be in a permanent teaching position until well after October 1st, which is when the official DCPS…

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Some may find this strange, but today I reached out to DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee by email, her preferred form of communication (according to this Time article, she answered 95,000 emails in her first year as Chancellor!).  I was pleasantly surprised to receive a response within an hour.  She’s the real thing, really. To explain…

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Aug 24 2009

The First Day of School

Today–Monday, August 24, 2009–is the first day of school for the DC Public Schools (huzzah!).  But I’m still jobless! There goes TFA’s 5-year streak of 100% placement by Day One…

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Aug 20 2009

Still Unplaced

Fact 1: The school year starts on Monday. Fact 2: I don’t yet know where or what grade I’m teaching. Fact 3: I was told I would be teaching in a charter school, but now I am mysteriously getting added to the DCPS payroll.

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Aug 10 2009

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing in DC

I’m sitting, waiting, and wishing in Washington, DC.  I don’t yet have a placement.  The little information that I’ve received tells me that I will be placed at a charter school.  But that’s all I know.  It’s been over a week since I moved into my new place in the Columbia Heights neighborhood and, although…

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Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

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