If I could give new teachers just one piece of advice, it would be this:
Let the kids drive.
Yes, you’re the one with the degree in education. Yes, you’re the one who knows the Common Core standards. Yes, you’re the one who’s seen the blueprint for the flavor-of-the-week standardized test. But your kids are the ones who know themselves, and that might be more important. Trust them. Seize the teachable moments, and let the kids drive — the lesson, the unit, even the curriculum if necessary.
Here’s what that looks like in practice: Continue reading “Chapter 14: Let the Kids Drive”
If someone had told me, two years ago, that I could be happy sitting on the sidelines, watching other journalists work, I would have been convinced that person was hallucinating.
In between teaching gigs, I’ve spent most of the past 30 years in journalism at one level or another. I know the frustration of fruitless investigations, the tedium of crunching crime stats, and the frenetic energy of a newsroom on Election Night. I’ve pored over court records, spent holidays covering crime scenes, and done shots of peppermint schnapps to remove the stench of dead bodies from my sinuses. And I’ve found the profession wildly addictive, despite its myriad drawbacks.
Last time I taught it, I relapsed and ended up back at a newspaper less than two years later — so you can imagine my consternation last spring when my boss asked me to take over our journalism program. Continue reading “Chapter 7: View from the Sidelines”