A Wedding and Some Free Advice

We went to a wedding yesterday. It was two friends I used to teach with. They met at the school where we worked and found love in a hopeless place. My wife and I don't go to many weddings anymore. There was a long period where we went to four or five weddings every year. That gradually tapered off and faded into the current era of second weddings and bar mitzvas. This was that rare first wedding of two good friends. Nothin' better than that. Unless, of course, it doesn't work out. Then it can Read more [...]

Fresh Awesome in the Teachbad Store!!

As mid-autumn teacher depression and anxiety finds its sweet spot, and in time for thoughtful holiday gift-giving, Mr. Teachbad is delighted to offer two BRAND NEW products to our growing line of Strictly Home-Use Teacher Gifts. Check 'em out. I especially like the Pretty Good Teacher mug. And then there's this: You can buy these and other inspiring Home-Use Teacher Gifts inside! In addition to expanding our selection of truly amazing products, the store has also been renamed. Read more [...]

Mass Production of Individuals

Every student is a precious gift who deserves an educational experience that is at once self-paced and expertly guided; providing a constant but ever-changing  and perfect combination of challenge, relevance, support and blah-bitty blah blah, etc. You know… And we all wish we could do that for our students.  Or, if we don’t wish we could, we used to imagine that we might be able to or want to. Or, lacking that, we reasonably assumed that our students might have endeavored to do more work Read more [...]

Bullies in School (They’re Bad)

Mr. Teachbad is taking the unusual step of inviting a guest blogger to do the work today. It is also a bit of a departure in that the sole purpose with this one is to be helpful. It’s an article by Patrick Del Rosario about addressing the problem of bullying in schools. At the end I have added my own comments about LGBT bullying. Dealing with a Bully Student: What to Do, How to Cope by Patrick Del Rosario Every class has at least one bully, or shall we say at least one potential bully. Read more [...]

Teaching and Predictability

This is the continuation of our exploration of the baseline downside of teaching; Tedium, the Bell and Chain, and No Career Path. These are things that I personally didn't like about teaching that would have been present even if Michelle Rhee had never been born. Every teacher, in even the best of circumstances, must deal with these things. We started with Tedium and a discussion of Grading: Part I and Part II. A close cousin of tedium is our good friend predictability. Predictability means roughly Read more [...]

“Rhee Came Down From The Mountain” Song

Back to School Night: Part II

In Back to School Night: Part I, I sketched out differences between two schools. School #1 is a public charter school, has pretty poor facilities, test scores are high, parent engagement is high, and the teachers appear to have a relatively high degree of freedom in the classroom and seem to be happy. School #2 is a regular public school, has amazing facilities, test scores are low, parent engagement is low, and the teachers are strictly regimented and mostly unhappy. What I left out, intentionally, Read more [...]

Teachbad and Student: A Moment

After my interview on WAMU/NPR, I heard from a number of former students. This is the first one I got:  Hi Mr Gwynn, I'm not entirely sure if you remember me, but I was a former student of yours. So this morning, I was in the car on my way to work listening to NPR as usual and to my surprise I heard your name and I immediately recognized you as my awesome and definitely memorable high school history teacher. I commanded everybody in the car to be silent because I just had to hear what you had Read more [...]

Back to School Night: Part I

It was Back to School night at my son’s new middle school on Wednesday.  As residents of Washington, DC and people who can afford neither the city's high-rent zip codes nor private school, the move of our son to middle school has been a source of great anxiety for the better part of two years. When I first started teaching, I taught at our neighborhood DCPS K-8 school. It’s three blocks from my house, but there is no way my son was going there. This is the place where an 11-year-old second Read more [...]

Pain Management: Grading: Part II

(Pain Management: Grading: Part I can be found, of all places, here.) Let’s do it. It’s a stack of 90 12th grade U.S. Government midterms, 10 pages each, 900 pages in all. I like to do the first page on all of them. Then the second page on all of them, the third and so on. This has two advantages over grading one full test after another. First, it’s faster to grade the same six multiple choice questions or four short answer questions over and over again. It probably kills more of my own Read more [...]