NEWS
August 25, 2017

I Almost Quit Teaching on My Third Day. Here’s 10 Things I Wish I’d Known.

Dear Mark,

You called out sick today (Thursday, September 6, 2007). Only your third day of school—ever!—and you lied about having a family emergency in Rhode Island.

I know, you’re scared—not of the kids but of the seriousness and urgency of the task. You’re responsible for their seventh-grade education. Seventy kids. Reading and writing and history and health. That’s a lot of pressure considering how little you truly know about teaching.

Well, I can tell you this, Mark—you go to school on Friday, September 7, 2007, and you’re still teaching 10 years later in 2017. Over 1,000 kids and counting.

Why do you show up on that Friday?

Truth is, I’m not exactly sure. I’d like to say it was grit or hope or some Tony Robbins-type passion but I think it was probably that you didn’t want to be seen as a quitter.

Let me give you some advice. Ten pieces for the 10 years you’ve been teaching. It can’t hurt, right? If anything, it will only help you get better.

1. Fall in love with your kids and their families.

Right now you are motivated by the injustice of the achievement gap (which isn’t a bad thing; that’s what got you into teaching in the first place) but love is more personal and specific and contextual and empathetic. As noble a pursuit as justice is (and it’s a super meaningful pursuit), love is deeper and stronger and kinder. It will get you up in the morning. One day you’ll be on a packed bus with kids (and adults) singing their hearts out and you’ll wonder: What created that amazing experience? The answer won’t be justice; it will be love. (Always.)

And when your kids share that love with others–like when Sydney buys Jah’sir a pack of 20 pencils because she notices he doesn’t have any at the time or when Amirah and Sasha write thank-you notes to the cleaning staff in Spanish using Google Translate because they want to thank them in their own language–you won’t be able to contain the pride and the hope and the excitement that you feel. So don’t. Tell everyone you know about such occurrences. Become a narrator of the beauty you are lucky enough to witness on a daily basis.

2. Fall in love with your colleagues.

Send them texts with unicorn emojis and lasers. Bake them sugar cookies. Read inspirational books with them like This Is Water or Miss Rumphius. Actively listen to them. Great teachers make other teachers better. You won’t ever have that chance unless you care about your colleagues authentically and unconditionally. Right now you think teaching is a solo act. It’s not. When done well, it’s a chorus. It’s “Hamilton.”

3. Related to No. 1 and No. 2 (because David Foster Wallace says it best):

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” (Preach.)

4. It’s 125 percent your responsibility to convince kids that it’s 100 percent their responsibility.

5. I’ve said it before but it’s worth saying again:

Kids have the best BS detectors in the world. They can tell when you’re faking and they can tell when it’s real. Be real. You like blue raspberry flavored everything and El Toro at Six Flags and LeBron and Harry Potter debates–there is no reason to hide that stuff. Instead: Embrace it. The more you are you, the more you will encourage kids to be their true selves.

6. This YouTube video. (Trust me.)

7. Appreciate the shades of gray.

Right now you are young and inexperienced and see most things as black or white. They aren’t. One kid might be late to school consistently and need a short conversation to improve their attendance. Another kid might need bus tickets. Another kid might need a ride or permission to come inside the school early. What none of them need are formal consequences. Do what’s best for each individual kid depending on their specific situation.

8. This and this and this and this and m o r e. You currently have no idea how powerful music is. You will.

9. Constantly get better.

Aziz Ansari talks about performing at The Comedy Cellar during the holidays last December and seeing Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Amy Schumer, Dave Chappelle and Louie C.K. regularly working on their craft. He (Aziz) would do ten sets a night across three different rooms to improve his routine. Be Aziz. Surround yourself with great people. Practice. Fail. Grow. A lot. One of your years might just be the teaching equivalent of the second season of Master of None.

10. As your friend DeRay says, stay woke.

Don’t be afraid to talk about Donald Trump or feminism or immigrants or refugees or poverty or police brutality or mental health or depression or the LGBT community or why black lives matter or anything. Kids will have questions. You won’t have all the answers. You won’t even have a lot of them. But out of those continued conversations, something will emerge. Some people call it trust. Others call it family. Or realness. An almost transcendent energy. Whatever it’s called, it’s hard to fake and even harder to create/maintain. Don’t take it for granted.

In fact, there will be a day when a boy you deeply admire will stand up in front of his peers at a grade-level assembly and tell everyone that he’s bisexual. Not for the attention. Or the spotlight. But because he wants other people to know that’s who he is. And because he wants other people to know that criticizing someone for who they love is hurtful and prejudiced. And in that moment you’ll realize a few things quite poignantly: That the boy is so unbelievably brave and that the kids are so incredibly close for him to believe that he can be so honest in that setting and that, damn, kids are just so insanely magical.

I’d wish you luck, Mark, but you don’t need it.

Enjoy the next 10 years.

You have no idea how spectacular they’re going to be.

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Teachers treated to a pampering and relaxing trip in the cool...
 
THE six National Champions of the CIMB Asean Stock Challenge 2.0...
 
WHEN Tey Hsien Chyi was 13, she wanted to follow in...
 
THE Health Ministry and the Education Ministry are working together to...
 
PETALING JAYA: The Education Ministry has stepped in to clear the...
 
PATRICK Awuah felt that he could never return to Ghana once...
 
Players in the special education sector welcomed the recommendations as well,...
 
THE country’s higher education system is flexible and bold. And, it’ll...
 
ABU Zharr Luqman Abdul Aziz emanates confidence as he smoothly converses...
 
The Senate early Saturday morning narrowly approved major tax legislation roundly...
 
The sheer number of different needs in my class is staggering,...
 
Julie Comeaux and son Matthew begin their home-schooling lesson for the...
 
University in firing line as row grows over rising executive pay...
 
I care about my students’ test scores. That sentiment is a...
 
I went to Chicago Agricultural High School. It’s known as one...
 
IPOH: Fear of some students not being able to cope is...
 
Zahara Nordin, who scored 6As in the recent UPSR exam, is...
 
Eco World Foundation has extended its Students Aid Programme (SAP) to...
 
As most Americans celebrated with their families over the Thanksgiving holiday,...
 
His parents don’t approve of the exam. He is bright, but...
 
From toys to language, teaching girls basic skills and busting gender...
 
A quick skim of any student newspaper across the country will...
 
WASHINGTON — Does the study of anthropology inherently run counter to...
 
Apprenticeships are commonly identified with skilled trades such as welding and...
 
Zimbabwe’s universities must shed politically tainted leaders and rediscover academic freedom...
 
Early in my career, older men I looked up to took...
 
More than 400 schools in England have 20 or more takeaways...
 
Rebranding the Conservatives as ‘caring’ is tricky enough. Imagine trying to...
 
Middle Street primary school in Brighton has the highest number of...
 
The professor, John Casey, an award-winning creative-writing instructor, is the subject...
 
The American Academy of Arts & Sciences lays out recommendations for...
 
Half of nursery teachers surveyed said they separated under-fives for reading,...
 
Colleges and universities today flood the mailboxes of high school students...
 
Matt Lauer. Harvey Weinstein. Bill Cosby. Charlie Rose. Garrison Keillor. The...
 
Native American Heritage Month ends today, but we can never forget...
 
Did Education Secretary Betsy DeVos just chide President Trump about his...
 
Glynis Breakwell announced her retirement after row over her salary, but...
 
Whitehaven academy in Cumbria is to seek a new sponsor after...
 
KUANTAN: The SMK St Thomas parent-teacher association (PTA) is split on...
 
PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaya (UM) has been placed at 10th position...
 
Yes, they’re flawed. But they’re not the only way to gather...
 
Figures show that ever more pupils with special needs are being...
 
What was once a challenge of quantity in American undergraduate education...
 
PHILADELPHIA — Olivia Harding holds academic accomplishments that her 10 siblings...
 
Internships are not volunteering opportunities and charities do not have a...
 
At a time when 790,000 young people are not in education,...
 
A controversial speech at the University of Connecticut Tuesday night ended...
 
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign enthusiastically announced last month that...
 
Nationally, just three out of five high school seniors complete an...
 
Last week the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission published his...
 
Abstract We analyze longitudinal data from students who spent their academic...
 
Abstract We evaluated influences on the climate change risk perceptions of...
 
Abstract Distance learning is expanding rapidly, fueled by the novel technologies...
 
Lucian Wintrich was at the university to deliver a speech titled...
 
The students plan to protest the Republican tax proposal, which, as...
 
The distraction of technology is a major driver of such bans....
 
The positions had been revoked to penalize graduate students who demonstrated...
 
Thousands of miles from any continent is a cluster of islands,...
 
I am a gifted and talented specialist for a school district...
 
I was at a world education conference earlier this month in...
 
If you’re an underdog kind of kid in Chicago, and you...
 
A group of 2- and 3-year-olds enjoy a lunch of fish,...
 
Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Felman. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Felman This...
 
Maikko, 2, in pink, Terrance, 1, in red, and Nylah, behind...
 
With her plea earlier this month for more investment in apprenticeships, Education...
 
Adriana Villegas, 17, discovers something new in Strides as Robert Vaca,...
 
It was July 13, 2010. Michelle Rhee, then D.C. schools chancellor,...
 
Arkansas legislators voted unanimously this month to study exactly why nearly...
 
Boys as young as six allegedly beaten and sexually assaulted at...
 
Here are our worthy runners-up in all nine categories of the...
 
A new 12-strong team at Highgate primary has reduced exclusions and...
 
A new scheme trains teachers to help vulnerable schoolchildren and their...
 
BTECs have been lauded for widening access to university, but once...
 
The House GOP plan would tax tuition waivers, opening a new...
 
Republicans in the House would scrap the writeoff, but their Senate...
 
By Carolyn Jones With their emphasis on hands-on experiments, California’s new...
 
The state’s longstanding apathy toward the plight of the its poor...
 
Greg Schiano has been accused of covering up Jerry Sandusky’s child...
 
The government will make an announcement if and when the Unified...
 
PLEASE save our convent schools for the good of the nation....
 
KEEPING up with the times in a fast-paced setting is never...
 
Apprentices from the West are now heading East to learn a...
 
TWO years ago, a post on my Facebook timeline caught my...
 
AINAA Farhanah Amali was all smiles as she was wheeled to...
 
THERE will be options aplenty for school leavers looking to pursue...
 
Kenyatta Burn works with her tutor at the Durham Literacy Center...
 
Staff and students have called on Glynis Breakwell to resign and...
 
THE teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education to...
 
Simon Henderson to appear before education committee after Guardian reported exam...
 
Angry columnists want to keep students quiet, but it’s time to...
 
Messages sent by Emily Drouet, 18, show she blamed herself for...
 
Oxonian subjects, including disabled, black and ethnic minority graduates, nominated by...
 
Chairman Michael Barber says Office for Students will expose pay levels...
 
Self-selection to the university promotions process prioritises those academics who put...
 
Medicine’s a tough career and professionals are demoralised. But the good...
 
Budget scorecard allocates £80m of spending in the next two years,...
 
Critics say near-60% fall in trainee numbers are down to overly...
 
Watchdog reports sharp decline in outcomes due to concerns about leadership...
 
Open letter, also signed by Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman, says...
 
JOHOR BARU: Despite not getting straight As for his Ujian Pencapaian...
 
SJK(C) Serdang Baru 2 has come a long way from its...
 
Mental health campaigner Natasha Devon describes online abuse she received after...
 
Stephen Jackson, 72, was fired from Tendring technology college in September...
 
MORE THAN 200 school headmasters and teachers in Perak turned up...
 
KUALA LUMPUR: Ten of the country’s researchers are recognised as the...
 
To tackle misinformation about what works in teaching, schools must find...
 
Simon Langton grammar school dismisses concerns about allowing unfettered debate among...
 
Abstract Big Data refers to large and disparate volumes of data...
 
All graduates aspire to land a job once they finish tertiary...
 
We hear a lot of talk about achievement gaps these days,...
 
Senate narrowly backs Glynis Breakwell following controversy over her high pay...
 
Training students to recognize challenges they’ll both face, and bring, to...
 
But the legislation would hurt students, too. Powered by WPeMatico...
 
Staff member leaves St Paul’s private school with immediate effect after...
 
The concept appears, explicitly or implicitly, in many faculty manuals. But...
 
Young people today are acutely aware of the issues of climate...
 
Report by Higher Education Funding Council for England found a ‘culture...
 
Kim Nassoiy, UCF Forum columnist I work in a field where play...
 
There is no reason to be surprised that Florida teachers are...
 
PETALING JAYA: More than 100 exhibitors turned up at The Star...
 
Running a university requires a rare combination of skills. Pay peanuts,...
 
Warwick University vice-chancellor says certainty is needed over EU citizens’ rights...
 
The government can’t ignore regional inequality any longer. Its industrial strategy...
 
One member of a student group that disrupted the University of...
 
When a vote to censure the dean of the School of...
 
Today’s students may be digital natives, but that doesn’t mean institutions...
 
The antiestablishment political party that swept to victory in the Czech...
 
Higher education needs to evolve from the lecture hall to encompass...
 
Research suggests that teaching mixed ability classes is seen as unconventional...
 
Nsai Temko pictured in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh in Squirrel...
 
Free, openly licensed course materials, or open educational resources, have transformed...
 
Complaints being investigated after ‘geometric reasoning’ section of high school paper...
 
A study by the General Accountability Office finds gender and age...
 
Benito Juarez Community Academy students waiting in the cafeteria for first...
 
Antwan Wilson came to Washington nine months ago to become chancellor...
 
Residents fear closure of site after merger of Kensington and Chelsea...
 
Union leaders say open days have become ‘embarrassing’ with questions about...
 
Thanksgiving dinner can be fraught with tension that often stems from...
 
When I entered Mary Evelyn Castle Elementary School in second grade,...
 
IPOH: The Government has pledged RM3mil for the setting up of...
 
Lawyer for Faiz Siddiqui, who alleges ‘inadequate’ teaching stunted his career,...
 
Avoid legal jargon – and be aware of what is (and...
 
Workers’ battle to negotiate with University of London rather than contractor...
 
WASHINGTON — At the Middle East Studies Association’s annual meeting, several...
 
Job ads published with the Modern Language Association declined for a...
 
Although university leaders speak frequently about college as a driver of...
 
A federal jury on Monday found that Southeastern Oklahoma State University...
 
Ken Parker was suspended from the University of North Florida Nov. 14,...
 
Interview Diane Reay grew up on a council estate, the eldest...
 
Admissions service welcomes moves to let undergraduates take their credits to...
 
Abstract Constructing explanations of complex phenomena is an important part of...
 
How does a respectable institution such as the University of London...
 
Workers’ battle to negotiate with University of London rather than contractor...
 
Coahoma County will be home to the first rural charter school...
 
Great Hall, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. More than 80 leading...
 
Budget will introduce discount railcard for under-30s and unveil action to...
 
A reclamation project in Pittsburgh will turn an old steel mill...
 
If you just read the headlines, you might suspect that Chicago...
 
If you just read the headlines, you might suspect that Chicago...
 
Simon Langton grammar school for boys, which previously invited right-wing controversialist...
 
Universities watchdog finds governance of senior pay lacked transparency, and says...
 
Grambling State University President Richard Gallot, Jr. (pictured right) rides in...
 
Amsterdam snatches regulatory body from Britain as EU’s chief negotiator mocks...
 
During my time in school, I only had two Black teachers...
 
It concludes charter schools are a “failed experiment.” Powered by WPeMatico...
 
The solution to today’s puzzle On my puzzle blog earlier today...
 
The U.S. Education Department recently handed out a “bomb threat checklist”...
 
The associate professor of interior design is no longer employed at...
 
Using a stuffed animal to assist with breathing techniques, fifth-grader Vermetrice...
 
Career of Delia Derbyshire, an under-appreciated electronic music pioneer, recognised by...
 
Behavioral economists found that scores rose for U.S. students who were...
 
As well as polluting our seas with microplastics, the devilish dandruff...
 
Andrew Coffey, a 20-year-old fraternity pledge at Florida State University, died at an off-campus party this...
 
Boston University said Friday that it found evidence of harassment in...
 
BALTIMORE — It was the 38th annual meeting of the National...
 
California’s Legislature and governor may have officially signed off on covering tuition costs for the first year of community college last...
 
Today on the podcast we’re talking to two amazing moms of...
 
Universities came out in force to defend UK membership of the...
 
Abstract According to researches, motivation that initiates and sustains behaviour is...
 
Faculty members at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale understand that something...
 
House Republicans on Thursday pushed through tax reform legislation widely opposed...
 
Valparaiso University announced Thursday that its law school would no longer admit...
 
Information Commissioner to look at evidence of wealth screening of former...
 
Some classroom observations and other assessments at the University of California...
 
Former education minister Andrew Adonis calls latest pay rise for Glynis...
 
JOHOR BARU: Eight out of 10 Johoreans want the return of...
 
KOTA KINABALU: Having a second chance turned out to be the...
 
Ofsted head says move is to tackle situations in which wearing...
 
AFTER over five months in a coma, a tahfiz student who...
 
The slew of Democratic victories in November’s state and local elections...
 
Budget should include measures on training and skills shortages, with British...
 
The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson. Photo: Terrell Clark for...
 
AS a child, I loved reading Mr Midnight stories. The countless...
 
UNIVERSITI Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) has emerged as a big winner...
 
PROF Dr Mak Chai (pic) has been appointed as First City...
 
The key to building a disruption-ready workforce is to produce adaptable,...
 
IT is often said that young people are our future. If...
 
Star-NiE is looking for teenagers (aged between 14 and 19 in...
 
CYBERJAYA University College of Medical Sciences has celebrated over 860 of...
 
Efforts to remove the stigma for students with disabilities have paid...
 
At least 200 children take their own lives each year in...
 
I write from a place of privilege today. I have never...
 
Last week, the Chicago Sun-Times released an article announcing that Chicago native, rapper...
 
Abstract This preliminary study examined the effect that five major sources...
 
The academic job market keeps getting tighter for historians. During the...
 
The University of Notre Dame for years has been derided for...
 
A mix of risk factors has made the problem particularly pervasive...
 
The reason we still serve hot lunch in school cafeterias is...
 
Students are asking the university to re-examine its policies, saying the...
 
The headlines keep on coming these days: one school after another...
 
In Morris Heights, Bronx, the alarm sounds at 4:00 a.m. signaling...
 
We must provide broader access to higher education to ensure success...
 
And back then, the American Historical Association notes in its latest...
 
A new national survey says they seek out differing opinions more...
 
Abstract How do secondary school science teachers justify the model of...
 
How better soft skills might boost low college persistence and employment...
 
When a child is transgender, people seem to lose any sort...
 
Another health organization calls to start school later — and the...
 
Working Title aims to tackle lack of diversity in industry by...
 
<span style="color: red;">EXCLUSIVE:</span> PETALING JAYA: Despite its controversial start, the Dual...
 
More than 40% of regional venues forced to cut opening hours...
 
Now that education is a commodity, colleges are bound to exaggerate...
 
A Cambridge professor forgets that a glass or two can expand...
 
LAST February, I had just taken part in Sports’ Day activities...
 
THERE are only two months left in 2017 for parents with...
 
Three hundred Dual Language Programme (DLP) schools have quadrupled to over...
 
DO you remember the teacher who made a difference in your...
 
TEACHERS must take the initiative to improve themselves. …...
 
WORKING hard is the cornerstone of any achievement but sometimes, it...
 
Views and comments from the teaching assistants under the Fullbright programme....
 
Teaching assistants under the Fulbright programme return home after helping students...
 
SCHOLARS and intellectuals in Malaysia will be able to help build...
 
The Higher Education Ministry has developed the Malaysia English Assessment to...
 
THE DLP ensures that children have access to the best learning...
 
They’re capable of the work. School leaders and teachers just don’t...
 
Following student calls for university English literature syllabuses to be ‘decolonised’,...
 
Despite feeling my lesson plans have never been better, the lack...
 
One of the men died in 2007, and the other former...
 
Simon Henderson says the school would support transgender pupils but it...
 
Adam Salomon at his high school graduation. Salomon’s mother, Karen, says...
 
Abstract Attaining the vision for science teaching and learning emphasized in...
 
The terminological confusion around “antifa,†“antifascism,†and “black bloc†has contributed...
 
(Note: I’ve published some of this before, but here, again, is...
 
All Souls College, which received substantial payment in 1710 from a...
 
A Women in Sport report concludes girls are not engaging enough...
 
PhD research student Sam Cooper, from Imperial College London, explains how...
 
Martin McLean, a former postgrad student who has been deaf since...
 
Michele Zarri studied energy and climate change at the University of...
 
As student debts mount, and with the loans system in need...
 
Kate Pemberton chose Copenhagen for her postgraduate degree, where courses are...
 
In most urban school districts, ‘turnaround’ is a dirty word. Turnaround...
 
KUCHING: Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak is offering three Master scholarships...
 
The Senate tax reform proposal released late Thursday night includes an...
 
The classical Greek idea of learning how to live a good...
 
The Senate tax reform proposal released late Thursday night includes an...
 
Outgoing Hong Kong academic Peter Mathieson signed letter describing calls for...
 
Knox College in Illinois this week canceled a planned production of...
 
A federal judge will appoint a third party to address segregation...
 
If medical school students at Ross University were expecting to study...
 
Black academics will outnumber their white colleagues in South African universities...