Never Let Schooling Interfere with Your Education.

Ariel Norling here. I write about education, technology, and my adventures in entrepreneurship- i.e. everything that I've learned outside of a classroom's walls. I am often sarcastic, sometimes serious, but always infinitely curious.

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#teachers

I saw a teacher blog about reaching a benchmark in their teaching experience using this song as their own “the show goes on” moment. I couldn’t help but notice that they left out the most relevant part of the song, which particularly energized me during my teaching experience. [Sorry in advance for the n-word use, but I keep it real and think that it’s better to keep it the way the artist intended it]

"Five in the air for the teachers not scared to tell the kids that’s livin’ in the ghetto that the niggas holdin’ back, that the world is theirs."

That was what took my experience from good to great. No one ever believes that holding high expectations for students and telling them that they can reach and exceed them actually makes a difference. It does. It may be a Freedom Writers sentiment, but it’s true. At the end of the year, when we said our goodbyes, most of the students said that my fellow teaching interns and I were tough, but that they liked it. We challenged them more than any other class, and they rose to the occasion. All of the high school and university department officials said that they had the best presentations they’ve seen in the history of the program (over 15 years). It was tough sometimes. Some nights I would come home emotionally exhausted from trying to help students reach the expectations we set for them. I often wondered if it was enough to be encouraging. In the end, it clearly was. Students noticed and responded well to my emotional investment into their success. One student later wrote me: “I appreciate all the help and encouragement you gave me. Also for seemingly knowing every Time something was wrong with me in class [sic]”. I really hope that the show goes on.

Why hackathons work and why we need to create a culture that rewards innovation and passion in schools.

“So we built giant organizations (political parties, nonprofits, schools, corporations) filled with easily replaced laborers. Unions fought back precisely because they saw coordinated action as the only way to avoid becoming commodities. Ironically, the work rules they erected merely exacerbated the problem, making every union worker just as good as every other.”

Linchpin by Seth Godin- p. 10

This quote perfectly summarizes my feelings about the problem with teachers unions; they do not reward excellent teachers. Beyond the other obvious issues, (like asinine clauses in contracts such as prohibiting mandating that male teachers wear ties), teachers unions are impediments to their own goals because they make teachers easily replaceable as a business transaction, even when they are much more than that.

This is an interesting stop-motion animation that explains the Redu manifesto. I love that they believe that it is not enough to leave education reform to solely policy makers, solely parents, etc. The site isn’t just sappy stories about educators, dry presentations of the data about education, or op-eds about education policy. I will be making Redu a more frequent destination.