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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
May 4, 2017
What this teacher learned when her discipline system went awry — for all the right reasons
The author, a teacher at P.S. 11 in Chelsea, shared this story at Teachable Moments, a live storytelling event.
April 26, 2017
How I stopped wishing for ‘seventh-period flu’ and came to love my first year teaching
For Autumn Jones, last period was her “dead fish” class. A student conversation helped turn it around — and a new group helped her realize her limits.
April 25, 2017
How I learned not to be ‘that mom’ — while keeping up the good fight for my son with a learning disability
Amy Valentine explains how she cut through "the fog of inaction" at her son's school, using the experience to teach (and learn) about perseverance.
April 21, 2017
A national teacher of the year on her most radical teaching practice: trusting kids to handle their bathroom business
Maybe what looks like “laziness” is really a trained helplessness and passivity borne of so many rules and restrictions against movement of any kind.
April 20, 2017
I’m a teacher, not an activist. Here’s why I’m joining the March for Science this weekend
Marching for science is distinct from the kind of political statements Ohio teacher Sarah Rivera avoids in her classroom. Here's why.
April 20, 2017
Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart — or completely misleading
Joshua Starr asks the real question: What are schools doing to create good reasons for students to attend?
March 15, 2017
How I navigated New York City’s high school admissions maze in a wheelchair
"Probably 80 percent of public schools schools couldn't work based solely on accessibility."
February 9, 2017
I mentor students demoralized about not having a vote. Here’s their plan for getting civically involved before turning 18
They’re proving that democracy doesn’t begin and end with casting a ballot — but it does depend on taking interest and taking action.
January 20, 2017
It’s time to retire the myth that any counselor can do the job alone — even at a tiny school
The frequent mismatch between need and numbers puts school counselors like me in the position to do a great disservice.
January 19, 2017
I’m an education reformer, and Betsy DeVos is going to kill our coalition. Here’s a game plan.
Our country’s Republican leadership is about to leave behind a technocratic agenda in favor of an ideological one. That really matters.
January 10, 2017
What a refugee student from Iraq taught me about reaching newcomers
Each day, I failed to get through to Fahad. Each day, I tried anyway. Eventually, we both learned important lessons.
January 5, 2017
People who say geography means rural areas can’t share in Trump’s school choice vision are wrong. Here’s why
Having worked with rural schools for 28 years, I know that geography isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.
January 4, 2017
Why has my school won two National Blue Ribbon awards? It’s really quite simple.
The secrets to my school's success aren't what most people think.
December 8, 2016
Why I take time to teach perseverance (and let my fourth-graders write on their desks)
A Tennessee teacher explains how she encourages goal-setting — and how she's seen the strategy work with students of all ability levels.
December 2, 2016
My students are worried about their families being deported. Here’s what I stopped world history class to tell them
“Who here is concerned that someone they love will be forced to return to a home country under President Trump?” More than half of my students raised their hands.
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