Teacher

How to Use the Seven Most Important Words

Back-to-School Confession “Whatever happens today, tomorrow, this week, next week, or twenty years from now,” I said, “remember that you are loved.” I stood in front of 70 students and 20 staff members trying to facilitate the beginning-of-the-year school rules exercise. The room felt snug and a bit muggy. Ripe little bodies wiggled and released their scents on the faint breeze from an open window. Returning students nodded slightly at my words. New students looked a bit stunned. “I love…

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Don’t Miss The Orphan’s Wish by Melanie Dickerson

A Lonely Heroine “When does Melanie Dickerson’s next book come out?” one of my students asked me the last day of school. “Not until June 26,” I told her. Her crestfallen face made me assure her, “Don’t worry, you’ll be here for leadership session when it comes out! Maybe you won’t have to wait until August to read it!” We went on to discuss the cover of The Orphan’s Wish (she loved it), and that it would retell Aladdin’s story…

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No Kid is Hopeless (They Just Need Support)

A Must-Have Book if You Want to Understand If you’ve never read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, go buy a copy and read it. You’ll understand the word support if you do. You’ll understand a hugely underrepresented and misunderstood slice of the population by the time you reach the last page. I read the book (along with Navajos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Story by Jim Kristofic) before I interviewed for my current job. I…

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There’s No Such Thing as a Slow Student

Slow Students I have a student that our school almost didn’t accept. You see, we don’t have a special education program because we’re a small, private school. This young man had an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) from his previous school, but his parents really wanted him to experience life as just another kid. When I first met Fred*, I wondered if maybe we hadn’t taken on a task that we didn’t have the qualifications to accomplish. Some would call Fred…

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How to Enjoy an Imperfect Thanksgiving Meal

“Go ahead and tell our faculty family they can each invite a guest,” I texted Pedro. “We have enough food for lots of kids to enjoy.” Yes, we had a lot of food, but. My class schedule this year doesn’t leave me much time to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner. I pushed the niggling thought to the back of my head as I shoved another pie plate of dinner rolls in around the slowly roasting turkey. The pale, not-roasting-fast-enough turkey. I…

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