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First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our
submission guidelines here
April 16, 2019
What my students learned — and didn’t learn — from my efforts to teach empathy in language arts class
Most of the things I’d been doing to teach character and kindness, like skits and role-playing, weren’t authentic experiences. So I tried something new.
April 15, 2019
The problem with ‘don’t smile until Christmas’? I can’t do it.
It all sounded like good advice to Rafael Jimeno. But he found that building an honest rapport with students goes a long way, too.
March 29, 2019
As a sociologist and a father, I have one conclusion: Chicago’s high school admissions process is unfair
For students, the process induces sleepless nights and constant comparisons to classmates. It also offers a front-row seat to deep inequality across the city’s schools.
March 25, 2019
‘Some rich kid will just buy my spot’: The disheartening message the college admissions scandal sent my New York City students
Too often I hear students say they aren't “college material,” even though they have the maturity and skills to succeed. Now, it's harder to convince them they're wrong.
March 21, 2019
The real college admissions scandal? High schoolers we work with still can’t afford to go
High-profile malfeasance is beside the point. When our Chicago high school students do things the right way, college admissions and financial aid systems against them.
March 20, 2019
I’m an Asian American graduate of Brooklyn Tech. Please don’t use me as a wedge in your education lawsuit.
I’d like to see the city start by building more schools, beefing up curriculum by teaching ethnic studies, and decreasing class sizes, among other common-sense solutions.
March 5, 2019
I’ve spent thousands of hours with SESIS. Replacing it isn’t all our students with disabilities need.
Truly improving special education will require a shift in mentality (away from compliance) and in-school practices (toward collaboration), not just new software.
March 1, 2019
If I can’t stay calm as a teacher, how can I expect more from 7-year-olds?
I think teaching mindfulness is a great second step. It’ll work, just as soon as we do.
March 1, 2019
The Denver strike was my school’s best team-building activity of the year. Our return didn’t go as well.
The strike gave us a chance to get to know each other, to find out how things are going across grade levels and content areas, to sympathize and empathize.
February 22, 2019
We’re counselors in Chicago. We want our district to stop steering students to colleges where they probably won’t graduate.
Chicago's new "College Readiness Guides" don't include information about colleges' graduation rates. That's a problem, according to two college advisors.
February 20, 2019
I was too anxious to speak in class. Then the adults at my school teamed up to help me.
My teacher smiled and held eye contact, as if to assure me that whatever I’d written, she and I were going to find a solution together. Eventually, we did.
February 14, 2019
We’ve watched as schools have responded to the Parkland shooting with more police. What we actually need: counselors and teachers of color
Students of color need more support, not more security.
February 13, 2019
Denver’s unstable teacher pay has forced teachers to make big sacrifices. For me, that has meant delaying having a child of my own.
ProComp bonuses have masked a salary too low to support my dreams.
February 12, 2019
Denver teachers are stepping up. It’s time for Colorado voters to do the same.
Twice in the last six years, we’ve watched ballot initiatives that would have significantly increased Colorado education funding fail.
February 4, 2019
Computer science can change how students who struggle in math see themselves. I’ve watched it happen.
Far too many high school students have walked into my classroom with a fixed idea of how much they can accomplish. That mindset is…
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