Outside the Cave 2.0

I had a great, but short, blogging run my first year teaching in Virginia.  I was a very idealistic, young progressive teacher at a very traditional large public high school with over 200 teachers.  I started my blog because I wanted to blog with students and I thought it would be hypocritical of me not to do the same myself.  I continued because I was desperate for a community of teachers eager to change education for the 21st century.  Blogging allowed me to connect with these teachers all around the world. (I’m ashamed to say I stopped following nearly all of them, though they’re back on my reader account now).

After a year of sporadic blogging while pursuing my master’s, I took a job teaching Social Studies at a new progressive public school in NYC, the Bronx Lab School.  I joined a staff of 20 dedicated, motivated, passionate, and open minded teachers, and instantly found the community I didn’t have in Virginia.  I stopped blogging towards the end of my first year at Bronx Lab because I no longer needed a separate community outside of my school, and I couldn’t quite figure out to what extent the lessons of the edublogs I was reading, most of which seemed to address teachers of middle and upper middle class students, applied to the world in which I found myself.  I was also working five times harder due to my students’ greater needs and the immense work necessary to build a new school and just didn’t have the time.

In the past four years, I’ve grown tremendously as a teacher and a leader, adding my English certification, National Board Social Studies Certification, and a position as my school’s union chapter leader.  I am again in search of a new community of educators, not because I don’t have one, but because I want a larger one and have figured out my situation well enough to be able to take lessons from anywhere.  Once again, I’m motivated to blog again by a desire not to be a hypocrite: next year I will take on a a full time regular English class for the first time, and will be trying to help build an independent reading program which my school piloted this year.  I don’t see how I can ask my students to grow as writers without being an active writer myself.  I also want to model a love of reading through this blog.  And conveniently, having recently sworn off professional sports and saying goodbye to my mild Lost obsession, I find myself with more time on my hands to devote to this.

I’m not sure who the audience of this blog is, if anyone.  Right now, I see three kinds of posts happening on a regular basis:

  1. Thoughts on the books I’m reading
  2. Reflections on my planning and teaching of English and Social Studies
  3. Thoughts on school reform and educational policy in the US and NYC through the eyes of a union rep who does not always agree with my union, but strongly believe in the continued importance of teacher’s unions in public education.

The blog itself is a work in progress, and will probably continue to be for some time, but I wanted to get started writing.  I imported all my old posts, but left them uncategorized to differentiate new and old content.  It’s going to take me some time to get the lay of the land as I have been largely absent from the online world for the past four years (amongst other things, I totally missed Twitter).  Updates, feedback and advice from anyone who reads this will be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to Outside the Cave 2.0.

4 thoughts on “Outside the Cave 2.0

  1. Welcome back! I admit I had left you for dead and then all of a sudden your blog shows up in bold in my Reader. I’ve updated your feed and look forward to reading about your experiences. I teach in a solidly working class area and agree that the blogs I read tend to be from teachers in middle and upper class areas.

    PS – Join twitter.


  2. Thanks, Jason. Twitter is on my to do list; hopefully I’ll be up and using it regularly in the next couple of weeks – though I did set up an account. My handle is StepheLazarOtC. Reading through your blog quickly, It looks like you’re thinking and working on a lot of similar issues I am at my school. I look forward to joining the conversations you’re a part of.


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