Why we do what we do, and how we should do it

Two really great pieces from Frank McCaughey (my former colleague and current Critical Friend) last week.  First, on his blog, Frank captures the roller coaster ride that is teaching in the Bronx:

One of my classes kicked the shit out of me today. Students talking, paper balls flying and a lesson that wasn’t going anywhere made 4th period today one of the worst of my year. During the next period I had to have one of my advisees escorted out of class because she was ready to start a fight over a missing jacket…By the time we were done, his mother was in tears as she told him how proud she was of him. Her reaction, and the look of pride and accomplishment on his face absolutely made my day, one that had been pretty bad leading up to that point.

He also captured the joy and excitement that can only come when teachers step back and let their students take over for our union newspaper, in the wonderfully titled “It Might Get Loud”:

During a recent government class, my 9th-graders were yelling and screaming so loudly that the principal came down to my room to make sure everything was under control.

Ten minutes later, one of the hallway staff also appeared at my door to make sure that everything was OK. Each time these people peeked into my room that day they saw 30 kids yelling and screaming at each other.

They also saw a smiling teacher.