Begin Again

Celebrating New Year’s Any Time

It had been the same lunch routine for too many days in a row. I would leave my great kids in 4th hour Reading the Screen (a film and reading analysis course for juniors and seniors) only to be discouraged by the direction of our “ordinary to extraordinary” unit. It started out really well. We had great discussions about how filmmakers wrap narrative around ordinary stories to make them extraordinary. We watched together and then in small groups a series of short films where they quickly flexed analysis muscles that were now taking shape. They seemed ready for full-length film analysis; they seemed ready to work on composing their first very short film.

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It’s All in the Mindset

How Reflection Creates Readiness

It’s time for a novice blogger’s confession. I’ve been slow. Painstakingly slow as a writer trying to learn her audience and find my voice. I already lost track of what iteration this short piece is on. But in the writing I’m learning and what I’m learning is that we are a community of professionals not only eager to see teachers teaching, but to find out how to use this kind of video for our own professional growth. I am convinced that this unique transparency of the classroom can elevate us all, especially when we bring a flexible mindset, willing to grow in (sometimes) uneasy ways.

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“Dear Tch” – A Community of Support

Have you ever had one of those teaching days where you felt like it was “the worst day of your life?” Last week we received a message from a dedicated second-year teacher who had one of those days, and reached out for a bit of support.

He is a secondary art teacher in a rural school of approximately 172 kids. Many of the students are learning English as a second language and are recent immigrants from Russia and the Ukraine. He has challenges communicating with his students’ parents who work long hours and, in some cases, don’t even have a phone.

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Meet Sarah Brown Wessling

I have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to Sarah Wessling who will be blogging for us and is featured — along with her students — in a number of inspiring videos we’re producing this year about improving her practice. For the last four months, I have spent time in Sarah’s classroom and watched her fill a variety of other educational roles: author of a new book on the Common Core, speaker at national conferences, discussion leader for administrators, and convener of teachers around her state.

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Johnston Forward: How I Found My Classroom

There are moments that take us by surprise, that push us out of our comfort zones, that are nothing short of surreal. As I stood next to President Obama and listened to him introduce me as the 2010 National Teacher of the Year (NTOY), at once, I felt the weight of the crystal apple award in my hand and the weight of the work ahead: representing the dedicated and courageous teachers across this country. There was no time for hesitancy; the work to be done was announcing its urgency each time I collected another teacher’s story.

Sarah Brown Wessling and Barack Obama

The funny thing about stories, authors will often tell you, is the way they write themselves; the way an author creates a character and then writes and waits, seeing where the character takes her. Such was my NTOY experience. One of the misconceptions about the recognition is that it’s all about the honor, when in fact it’s about growing into what a National Teacher of the Year can be. Just like all teachers who face the daily challenges of the classroom and confront that work as a learner, we are authors letting the stories of our character-students propel us onward.

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Welcome to Tchers’ Voice

I want to welcome you all to Teaching Channel and tell you how much it means to us to have you use the site and join our community. I also want to let you know what we are up to. Tch has an important mission: to revolutionize how teachers learn, connect and inspire each other—and their communities—to improve student outcomes. In order to accomplish this mission, we have three simple goals: to build teacher-driven professional learning, to deepen and improve opportunities for teacher learning, and to elevate and celebrate teachers in our society. I want to describe what we are doing to create teacher-driven professional learning first, and address the other goals in blog posts to come.

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