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First Person

First Person

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others thinking and writing about public education.

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Learning in a new language is exhausting. Remember that.

I teach English language learners. Here’s what they taught me.

As Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up, students and teachers reflect on resilience

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Writing about Newark is a ‘privilege and responsibility’ for me. Here’s why.

Want to share your own story?

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My abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum did real and lasting harm. Students deserve better.

I’m glad more Illinois students will have access to inclusive, comprehensive sexual health education.

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I’m passionate about teaching. Here’s why I’m not returning to the classroom.

Too many school leaders just want to get back to a broken ‘normal’

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It can be challenging for immigrant families to navigate American schools. I know from experience.

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Gun violence killed my teenage stepson. I can’t stop thinking about the men who murdered him.

What could have made a difference in the lives of those who took Miles from us?

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Growing up alongside a brother with disabilities inspired me to fight for education equity

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I live in one of NYC’s most diverse neighborhoods. Here’s why it’s so hard to desegregate our local schools.

Much of the school integration work happening around the city is just parents and educators spinning their wheels.

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What driving in New England taught me about building a robust classroom culture

There’s a sense of belonging that comes from knowing — and feeling ownership of — the rules of the road.

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My student died. The grief surprised me. 

Teaching requires vulnerability. That makes loss an occupational hazard.

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I use newspapers to teach my students about the world and how to shape it

My middle school students are digital natives. They embrace print journalism anyway.

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My SHSAT scores didn’t show what I could achieve at Brooklyn Tech

A summer program for high-achieving, low-income students gave me a second chance.

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Students of color deserve to see themselves in their school curriculum

I never did. Schools must do better.

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I was a Stuyvesant high school senior on 9/11. It changed me forever.

The people who suffer the most in disasters big and small are often those with the least agency: children.

The COVID-19 outbreak is changing our daily reality

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit newsroom dedicated to providing the information families and educators need, but this kind of work isn't possible without your help.

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I voted for masks in school. I worried for my safety after.

I am unnerved. I am upset. But I have no regrets about the vote I made.

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On 9/11, they were at school. Here’s what happened inside their classrooms.

Chalkbeat asked teachers and students what they remember about that terrifying day 20 years later

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I’m a Philadelphia principal. Here’s how we have prepared for a year like no other. 

Our school is facing devastating enrollment declines, COVID losses, and other trauma. We know our educators have an important role to play.

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I got rid of my writing class. My students are better writers for it.

Here’s how I teach writing to elementary school students now.

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‘Who are Taliban?’ and other questions kindergarten teachers field

When my students ask about world events, I commit to telling them the age-appropriate truth. Here’s how.

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