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Showing posts from May, 2019

Teacher Self-Care

I was honored to give a talk on teacher self-care recently at Delta Kappa Gamma's state convention in San Francisco. This was my first time speaking on this topic but I promise it will not be my last! It was a small group because it was early in the morning (and let's be honest, part of self-care is sleeping!) but it was such a great group. I was able to use my story as a cautionary tale (if you don't know it, check out my book, Literally Unbelievable: Stories from an East Oakland Classroom ). I burned out, hard, and it was avoidable. We talked about how none of us have EVER had a professional development on self-care. And how most teachers don't make it five years. How we give absolutely everything to our students, at the expense of our families, our friends, and ourselves. It turns out that the old cliche about putting your own oxygen mask on first is true. We cannot help anyone if we are not healthy. Yet we're expected  to put ourselves last. When I s

It's Not the Teaching

My favorite thing about teaching is not teaching. I'm sure there are teachers who love that part of it - who live for the moment that a lightbulb goes on in a student's mind and who are fascinated by pedagogy -- who stay up thinking about different ways of explaining a math problem or a grammatical concept. I don't mind those things, and I like some of them. And, of course, it is wonderful to see that light bulb go on. But that isn't why I personally teach. For me, the reason to teach is the whole child. I love dealing with their brains. Their brains are so different at different ages and stages of development! Sometimes students are absolutely infuriating but it's totally developmentally appropriate. Sometimes you can almost literally see the neural pathways forming, like when third graders start questioning why Native Americans are called Indians, and I want to cheer them on: "Yes! Think things through! Taken nothing for granted!"Sometimes they a