Author Archive

Top 9 Secret Confessions of a Teacher

“Not so much secret as they are depressing!”   9. Sometimes during my planning period I lock the door and sleep on a table in the corner of my room. 8. I know it makes me sound like a dick, but I truly believe I am much smarter than all of my bosses. 7. I believe there is no way that changing how we teach is going to change the culture of poor city neighborhoods. 6. If I was doing my job with any integrity, I would be giving a lot more Fs. 5. It is shocking how uniformly Read more [...]

Stop Data Rape!

Have you ever heard the term data-driven instruction? It’s where data is used to drive instruction. Just by itself, it isn’t clear what kind of data would be most useful, how best to collect it, how it should be used or by whom. But as long as we repeat the phrase often enough, and have lots of data being collected and laying all over the place, we’re good. No worries. Data-driven instruction is the bomb. However, it can also trigger an aggressive kind of arousal and single-mindedness in Read more [...]

How to Spot a BAD TEACHER

The More Things Change, The More They Suck

Hi, All- This was originally posted two years ago and it struck a nerve with Teachbad readers. I was reminded of it again reading Emma Brown’s article this week in the Washington Post, Pep rallies, music videos and cash aim to inspire students in D.C. tests. (I’m not sure “inspire” is the right word. “Motivate” is closer, though still generous. “Bribe” probably cuts to it more directly, but it’s such an ugly word.) Written two years ago, this post was originally called: Circus For Grown-Ups It’s Read more [...]

Rhee Cheating Sh*tstorm: Part I

There was an intensely-guarded internal memo about possible cheating on the DC CAS during Michelle Rhee’s tenure as chancellor in Washington, DC. After nearly five years, the memo has been freed. Learning Matters reporter John Merrow had been trying to get it for a long time. The work he has done in the run-up to this has been fantastic. The memo in question is an internal DCPS communication summarizing the results of studies conducted by outside organizations hired to look into test irregularities Read more [...]

‘Terrible’ is the new ‘Pretty Good’

Sometimes it is breathtaking how crappy student work can be. What’s even more breathtaking is how crappy something could be that I would still give a B or C to. Teaching in achievement gap schools does this to you. It’s not that my expectations weren’t high enough. I must insist on that. Having low expectations has been one of the stock emotional blackmail boot-to-the-head teacher critiques and obfuscations on behalf of lazy kids. Every time I have started a new semester or taught a new class, Read more [...]

Teachbad, Rhee and Art: A Short Documentary

In this stunning new documentary short film, Mr. Teachbad discusses whether or not he is a visionary, his formal musical training, and the making of “Rhee Came Down the Mountain” with rehearsal outtakes.

Well, shit…THAT didn’t work.

This is stunning. You remember Michelle Rhee, right? She came to turn the DC public school system around. In 2007 she grabbed this city by the throat and shook it into submission.  Teachers were fired by the hundreds and principals by the dozen. Thousands have left the system because they did not want to work under the conditions Rhee and Jason Kamras, her chief teacher technician, were imposing. That was fine with her. Screw ‘em.  She would find new people who were willing to work hard Read more [...]

Teachbad on Paul Tough’s “How Children Succeed”

A review by Mr. Teachbad I remember one time at a faculty meeting. It was early in my teaching career, in my first year as a high school teacher. I don’t remember what the meeting was about…kids or learning or something. But I do remember the stares and uncomfortable silence in the cafeteria after I made this comment in reference to my students: I just…I just wish they would do something. All I want is for them to try. Give me something. Give me some kind of effort…anything…and I’ll Read more [...]

Teachbad’s Secret Project

For all the right reasons, I am trying to write a book about teaching in the modern era. I’ve been working on it for a long time and now it’s getting a little more serious. I don’t have anything to post because I’ve been working on that, so I’m going to give you a little taste of the book proposal. This is the first page; where I must grab a publisher’s attention so completely that she is compelled to read the second page. See what you think. (Maybe add a comment about what a great idea this book Read more [...]