Streams

 

Teachers Diary

Edit Bucket

Teachers: you are on the front lines of education in New York City. We want to hear about your experiences in the classroom, and your views of the overall system. What’s on your mind? Submit potential opinion pieces to schoolbook@wnyc.org.

Schoolbook

Opinion: How I Would Fix New York's Graduation Requirements

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A teacher who faces demoralized students struggling with exit exams they need to pass to earn a diploma argues for another way, with targets that kids actually aspire to meet.
Read More

Comments [5]

Schoolbook

School Counselor Relies on Message That Worked for Him

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A counselor for high school students with attendance issues says he hammers his message home, again and again: "This is something you can change. So get on your grind and go hard. You’re here for a second chance."

Read More

Comments [1]

Schoolbook

Opinion: No Sympathy Needed. My School is One of the Good Ones

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

WNYC

"Just because our students are older and have dropped or transferred out of traditional schools does not mean they are inherently difficult," wrote a teacher. "At least not more than any other adolescent."

Read More

Comments [2]

Schoolbook

Linking School to 'College and Career' Motivates At-Risk Students

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A high school diploma is only the beginning of what my students need to secure a better future. As the principal of a transfer high school, I am a strong believer in job training and college experience for my kids while they are still in high school.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

Essay: My Student is One Point From Her Diploma

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One point. That is all that stands between Amy and a high school diploma. And I am the teacher responsible for getting her over the line.

Read More

Comments [1]

Schoolbook

Note to Test Designers: Bad Questions are not the Same as Hard Questions

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A teacher who proctored the fifth-grade state tests this spring says they were hard but not for the reason people may think.  The test were hard, she says, "because they were poorly designed, with little connection to the work that students should be doing in school." Ouch.

Read More

Comments [8]

Schoolbook

Test Scores Should Be Seen as a Teacher's Tool

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

A middle school teacher says he has mixed feelings about the latest test scores: while any single number does not reflect a student's work over the school year it is a blunt reminder of the demands facing kids after high school.

Read More

Comments [5]

Schoolbook

The Heart of the Matter: Why I Left the High School Classroom

Monday, July 08, 2013

A dedicated New York City teacher collected stories of artists who ditched their day jobs to pursue their calling. And then one day she did the same thing herself. She explains why she chose a path that takes her out of the classroom.

Read More

Comments [2]

Schoolbook

Saving Our Students from Ourselves

Friday, November 30, 2012

A science teacher at Victory Collegiate High School in Canarsie, Brooklyn says educators shouldn't assume that students will respond to the same teaching styles that worked for them when they were younger.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

In Stormy Times, Schools Don't Close

Monday, November 26, 2012

During times of tragedy, a school can become a neighborhood’s community hub, one of the few structures open to all. A teacher recounts how his school stayed in touch with students in the aftermath of Sandy, helped its staff rebound and now seeks to comfort the community with the quiet ritual of routine.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

Students Powered Our School's Recovery

Monday, November 19, 2012

An elementary school teacher sings the praises of his school community as it absorbed the repercussions from Sandy and prepared to return to its building in Rockaway Park, Queens.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

Making the Most of a Bad Situation

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Science teacher Bill Lamonte chronicles the Millenium High School community coming together to plan its re-location to two different schools. More than the difficulties ahead, he said the resilience of his colleagues is worth noting, and applauding.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

New Math Teacher Counts on Group Learning

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A new math teacher plots her strategy in anticipation of year one in the New York City school system.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

The Special Education Problems We Aren't Solving

Monday, July 23, 2012

In her latest blog about teaching in a Bronx middle school, Laura Klein writes: "There’s a lot to criticize about the way special education works in this enormous system. It is cloudy and incongruous, difficult to define, and difficult to find any universal truths when you talk about it." The failures command more notice than the successes, she said. "What I have struggled with in the last few years is to define what aspects of it specifically fail the students — what is the problem that we aren’t solving."

Read More

Comments [2]

Schoolbook

Beating Back the Math Demons

Friday, July 20, 2012

A math teacher at a Queens junior high school writes: "Being afraid of math is not something I can appreciate; however, I do have a fairly unhealthy fear of spiders. I imagined sitting in a room dedicated to the study of spiders, complete with pictures and models. My jaw clenched and a chill crept up my spine. We both had an irrational fear, but Frankie was the only one being forced to face his every day with no help."

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

In Praise of Paraprofessionals

Monday, July 09, 2012

A Bronx middle-school teacher writes: "Because of their impermanence, people often think of paraprofessionals as replaceable -- one may be substituted for another from day to day. But at graduation this year, Ms. Javier sat on the stage and cried while she watched the students that she had helped get there. “Do you think next year I will have a student like Allie?” she asked me, mourning the loss of one. To the students, she was not replaceable -- and certainly not to me."

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

In Student Awards Season, Thinking About the Ones We Don't Give

Monday, June 25, 2012

A middle school teacher in the Bronx writes: What about the awards we don't hand out to students? "How about an award for my student who isn’t the best or the fastest, but who always helps her peers, and is kind when they don’t understand something? Or for the student who brightens everyone’s days with his sense of humor, and his perfect comedic timing in a tense moment? Where do I find the award for the child who has overcome the most this year -- who has been heroic in his or her personal survival?"

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

Too Poor for Their Own Graduation

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Bronx middle-school teacher who blogs about her experiences writes: "My students don’t have it easy. But every year I go to prom, and I see them at graduation. They are happy, looking their best, feeling successful, cheering for themselves and for one another. I see their parents snapping pictures of them, and hugging them, and smiling proudly. And I realize that for many kids, that is a rare occasion." When some of the children can't afford prom and graduation, some people are happy to help, because "feeling for one day that they have done something worth celebrating is a cause worth investing in.

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

The Student Who Made Me a Better Teacher

Monday, May 14, 2012

Laura Klein, a middle school teacher and blogger, writes: "Perhaps all teachers have one student for whom they are teaching. Sedina was that student for me. Even now, when I am no longer her teacher, she’s still the one."

Read More

Comment

Schoolbook

Life Lessons, Taught the Hard Way

Monday, April 30, 2012

In her latest blog post about teaching at a South Bronx middle school, Laura Klein writes about visiting a student at an in-patient psychiatric facility. As a teacher, she writes, it's easy to take comfort in knowing that her expectations for troubled students provide "simplicity in a world that is chaotic and scary." But when an incident occurs, she writes, it reinforces that, "We don’t have the solutions, and even if we did, we don’t have the power to fix the things that are broken in their lives."

Read More

Comment