Returning to School as a Culturally Responsive Teacher, Part 1

I was recently substitute teaching at a large and diverse high school when three young men walked in to the room. Only one of them was on the roster, but they were all being respectful, if not a little playful and off task. I didn’t know what to do, however, because if that had happenedContinue reading “Returning to School as a Culturally Responsive Teacher, Part 1”

The Thing About Racial Justice: We Need Proximity

I think that there is a problem in how we talk about racial justice. For my conservative friends – and for my conservative side: really reflect. Have you gone to a protest and been there bodily alongside people grieving another death of a Black person? Have you worked alongside people who speak Spanish as theirContinue reading “The Thing About Racial Justice: We Need Proximity”

Ms. Rectenwald Retires

After many years teaching at Del Dayo Elementary School in Carmichael, California, my mom Betsy Rectenwald is retiring this year. The picture above features Mom, myself, and my late Grandma Cornelia, who was also a lifetime educator. Just as Mom learned from her mom, so I learned from her. A colleague wrote her of herContinue reading “Ms. Rectenwald Retires”

The Legacy COVID-19? Compassionate Educational Frameworks (Here’s Hoping!)

I have been thinking about one of the last schools where I taught and realizing: what teachers are going through now, is what many students go through on a daily basis. Lack of job security, lack of structure, lack of routine, lack of control. In some cases, lack of rent, and the threat of havingContinue reading “The Legacy COVID-19? Compassionate Educational Frameworks (Here’s Hoping!)”

Education versus Schooling: Two Sides of the Same Coin – but not the same thing!

I love helping students who do not traditionally fit in in their educational environments. Why? You guessed it! Because I don’t fit in as a student and I believe that that makes me uniquely qualified to help people like me survive school in a way that keeps their callings and self-esteem intact. So that theirContinue reading “Education versus Schooling: Two Sides of the Same Coin – but not the same thing!”

The Unpredictability of Trauma-Informed Classroom Teaching

The structure and worldview of the classroom always takes time to establish, but when there is an environment that is constantly in flux, we cannot forget that there are multiple classroom cultures and also individual student cultures to consider and, therefore, multiple pools of meaning coming into contact. These pools may be at odds withContinue reading “The Unpredictability of Trauma-Informed Classroom Teaching”

Irlen Syndrome?: The Politics of Helping a Special Needs Student

I was a guest teacher in a special needs resource room recently. One of the students was a sweet boy who came in and sat with me as we tried to transfer the information that there on his paperwork (there were four dots on the page) into the numeral four – “4” – underneath theContinue reading “Irlen Syndrome?: The Politics of Helping a Special Needs Student”

Stubborn Learners or Tomorrow’s Leaders?

How many times have we seen students with their heads on the desk and their phones in their laps, pretending to be sleeping? Well, I couldn’t have done that when I was a child! But that’s only because we didn’t have phones to put in our laps at that time. I did, however, have aContinue reading “Stubborn Learners or Tomorrow’s Leaders?”

Mentorship of Non-Traditional Students

When working recently with an older college student, I was surprised at the negative messages they received from people in authority positions at their college campus. The student was almost thirty, and was being dissuaded from taking a course as anything but an auditor and was told to consider a different career path from herContinue reading “Mentorship of Non-Traditional Students”

The “Difficult” Student: Unconditional Positive Regard

When a student is causing trouble it is very important to focus on the good that they do and to keep a log of it and to actively praise them if you are holding them accountable and the situation has gotten so bad that you must record the bad (i.e. if they are routinely posingContinue reading “The “Difficult” Student: Unconditional Positive Regard”