Things for Teachers

Hey Tumblr teachers, what do you wear to work?

I’ve been seeing a lot of pictures with teachers with jeans on at work which is crazy to me! The men have to wear shirts and ties at my school and women are supposed to wear business professional (although mostly we get away with business casual, but definitely no jeans). So, what do men & women wear at your school?

The Coming Revolution in Public Education - John Tierney - The Atlantic ⇢



By tumblr standards, it’s a lot of words. 

Read them. 

Do it.

The article links to this resignation letter. It also links to lots of other stuff I’m familiar with, but I had not seen this particular resignation letter before. It struck me. I don’t really have an adjective to describe how it struck me; it just struck me.

Source: allisonunsupervised

What it truly means to be a teacher

I haven’t posted in nearly 2 years. But after a few stressful weeks at work, I was inspired to write this when I got home today.

I read about teaching constantly in the news, and it doesn’t seem to reflect what I experience each day. It’s been increasingly frustrating to me. While it’s very difficult to express in words what a teacher’s day is like, I gave it an honest shot here (warning: there is a little bit of profanity). 

What it truly means to be a teacher

12:45pm. I am teaching a 7th period class; we are focusing on the costs and benefits of British rule in India. The students are working on a t-chart on their own, referencing a textbook.

A girl in the front looks upset. Her eyes are glassy. She is finished the assignment far before the others because her reading level is on grade level while many of the students in the same class are still struggling at grammar-school reading levels (I teach 10th grade). She is drawing circles on her paper.

I know she was supposed to audition for the X-Factor, a TV show, yesterday; she had been excited about it for months. I heard through the grapevine that her dad wouldn’t let her go. I kneeled down. “Are you okay?”

Another student shouts from a few rows over: “Ms. D, I need you to show me my grade.” (Yesterday, as I tried to get him to start his work, he told me to shut the fuck up.)

I ignored him for a moment to see if he would notice I am mid-conversation with another student. She nods and says, “I’m fine” unconvincingly.

Again- “My grade Ms. D, I need to see my grade.”

“I’ll show you your grade after class- I’m trying to talk to another student right now.”

“I need to see it though,” he insists. “Is this good? Am I done?” He holds up his t-chart. I’m still kneeling in front of X-Factor girl as she absentmindedly traces the already-drawn circles on her paper.

“Ms. D,” another student shouts from across the room. “Can I stay after class and see my grade too?”

It’s been 1 minute.

1:01pm. We have 4 minutes in between classes and the bell has just rung to mark the end of 7th period. My 8th period class is honors-level and they are preparing for a debate. I need to move the desks from their standard position in rows to 2 large groups before too many students file in. I start in the back and manage to get 2 desks flipped around.

A girl runs in who should have been in my 7th period class but wasn’t. “I came to say bye, Ms. D. I’m not gonna be here anymore.” She’s standing by my desk at the front of the room.

“What?” I ask, not fully processing what she’s said.

“I’m not coming back,” she repeats.

I walk up to my desk. My 8th period has started to file in. “Guys, if you could group the desks into your 2 teams, please,” flitting my hand at them since I’ve been pulled aside.

“My foster mom kicked me out and I’m going to a homeless shelter,” the student continues. “I can’t go to this school from there.”

A student I advise in NHS comes in. “Ms. D, I need to see the papers I gave you earlier today- I think I stapled something to them that I wasn’t supposed to.”

I reach for the file of papers that I had put hers in earlier that day. “You can’t come to CHS still while you’re at the homeless shelter?” I’m flipping through the pages.

“No,” the homeless student says. “Ms. M says I can’t until I’m placed, then maybe I can get transportation.”

I hand the papers to the NHS student that she’s requested. “I need you to sign these- they’re from the donation drive,” she says. I put them on my desk and sign quickly, looking over them to make sure they are what she says they are.

I turn to the homeless student again, not sure even what to say. “Do you have paper? Will you keep in touch? Call me if you need anything? Please?” I write down my phone number for her.

NHS girl waves a paper in front of my face. “Do you need this to verify my hours?” I shake my head.

“Ms. D, I have a question!” calls a student from across the room. I walk over.

The bell rings for 8th period to begin. I turn around and the homeless girl has disappeared; I didn’t even get to truly say goodbye.

It’s been 4 minutes.


1:20pm. My honors students are in their teams, preparing for their debate. There was tension in this class yesterday; the teammates weren’t getting along well. One of my students approached me in the morning saying she felt as if her team was not taking her comments seriously.

Read More

ScreenChomp- Create and share tutorials on your iPad ⇢

ScreenChomp is a free app for creating and sharing short tutorials or lessons on your iPad. ScreenChomp provides a whiteboard on which you can demonstrate things by drawing and talking people through your instructions.

See the rest of the post by clicking the link above.

Activities for Teaching Google Tools to Teachers and Students ⇢

The above is a link to Richard Byrne’s (at Free Tech for Teachers) post about his activities; here’s a direct link to the activities page.

Larry Ferlazzo: The best reflective posts I've written about my teaching practice ⇢

Larry Ferlazzo is a well-respected name in the education community. I’ve gotten awesome lesson ideas from his blog and teaching tips. Check out the list for some ideas.

Free Tech for Teachers: ConceptBoard ⇢

There are many ways for teams of students to collaborate online and here’s another promising one. Conceptboard is a service that provides an online whiteboard space that you can use to share drawings, documents, spreadsheets, and more. 

Click through to read the rest.

World History Resources from History Tech ⇢

This is a really well-rounded list, although I’d add Flow of History for some upper-level people :). 

Teacher people: If you don't have a Dropbox account, you need to get one. ⇢


Click the link above and sign up for a free account.

I use mine for school.  It’s so easy to work on something at home, save it to the dropbox, and immediately access it at work.  With the printing issues I had today, I could easily go to dropbox’s website, sign in, get my stuff and print it from a different computer.

I also sync this with for students to turn in homework.  

Like I said, I only use mine for school.  I don’t put heavy, personal information in mine (cloud services are a risk like that).  

Click the link and DOOO EET.

I echo everything GWALP says here! I don’t know how I did things before Dropbox. Do you know how many times I left my flashdrive in a school computer? Also, I love Dropbox because when I edit docs on my computer at home, they automatically update “in the cloud” and I don’t have to re-transfer them.

Beginning-of-the-year Student Surveys

Last year, I ditched the idea of having students fill out an “about me” notecard with interests and contact information. Instead, I had them fill out a Google Form I made available online via my class website. It worked really well, keeping the information organized and easy to look up. 

I’m going to create my surveys for this year soon and I’m brainstorming new questions to add. I’m thinking of adding a question about cell phones and texting plans so I can think of the feasibility of using a service like Poll Everywhere in my classroom. 

What are your favorite questions to ask in the beginning of the year student surveys?


Who I am: A fourth year high school history teacher at an urban(ish) high school in New Jersey.

What I blog about: Stuff related to education I like, and stuff I hope can help other teachers out. Technology, deals on supplies, helpful books. My focus lately is on educational technology & related resources. Occasionally, I also post things related to education reform. Because I post articles that I feel will be of interest to teachers with varying views, the political-related posts made here do not necessarily reflect my beliefs or opinions, nor do they reflect the beliefs of my employer.

What I like learning & reading about: Other teacher's opinions about and experiences with teaching & education. How I can enrich my classroom and reach out to my students. If you write about this stuff, let me know, because I probably want to read it.

What you should submit: Anything that could help a teacher.

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