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Showing posts from December, 2015

Goals for 2016

Cindy challenged us to write about our goals for the coming year. This is tough for me because I tend to be the type of person that lists. And then I make lists for my lists. And then I'm so overwhelmed by some of my lists of things that I want to do that little to none of it gets done because I've lost the inspiration to achieve that goal that I had at that particular moment in time. I even made a list before I started writing this post.

Right now, I'm thinking a lot about this NPR piece entitled, "How Writing Down Specific Goals Can Empower You." Some research has shown that when students write down their goals, they are significantly more likely to achieve them. After reading this (last year and again this year), I became even more exciting to put pen to paper (or, well, words to keys) and make some of my goals visible.

When I started a note on my iPhone the other day about things that I want to accomplish for this coming year, I struggled. As a teacher, I fee…

Teaching and 'More Happy Than Not'

At ALAN, Cindy recommended More Happy Than Not, and I promised that it would be my next read. And so it was. This post may contain minor spoilers, so if you haven't read it, I'd recommend not reading further.

When reading it, I kept thinking about one student in particular that would need to read it. I think we all encounter those books, the ones that we just know a certain student would need to read because she or he would identify with it in ways that no other student would. On a side note, the student that I actually had in mind didn't check it out; another student did. I'm starting to notice a pattern to the books that student reads, but that's a reading conference conversation and not necessarily something I'll divulge here.

Aaron's journey of life after his father's suicide really touched me. It might be because my mother died during my freshman year of high school, and that's something that I'll never quite understand and fully grasp. I t…

Buying a House

I've been in the process of purchasing a home for what feels like a year. It's actually been about a month and a half, but it feels like it's taking a lot longer than it should. With the holidays approaching and a few necessary repairs taking place on the property, we're slowly acquiring the home that we've been dreaming of.

I mention the process of home buying because, for the first time in my teaching life, I have personal obligations that are really and truly consuming my time. I was telling my colleague the other day that this is the first time I've felt like this as a teacher. I've had the luxury of not having many out-of-school obligations and, in turn, I've been able to allow teaching, reading, writing, and much work-related thinking to consume my life. (I'm not complaining; I truly love so many of the responsibilities of my job!)

The custodian in my school jokingly called me a "part-timer" last week. I've gotten to know him ove…

What ALL My Students Have Taught Me

I quit my first teaching job after three months to begin working where I currently work. Let me dispel initial reactions: It wasn’t the kids. It wasn’t my colleagues. It wasn’t because I was completely unhappy. It wasn’t a horror story about a dysfunctional school district that was hemorrhaging staff left and right. I was fresh out of college and saddled with more student loan debt than my part-time salary, and I wanted needed a full-time teaching position. Regardless of the amount of time I spent there, those students taught me some invaluable lessons that have shaped my teaching life since then.
My first position was at a nearby international baccalaureate school where nearly half of my students were Muslim. At a time when too many conversations are dominated by declarations about what Muslims are and are not and the same conversations allow little room for inquiry in order to develop an understanding, I emailed Cindy about writing about this topic in order to share what these stude…