Guest Posts Archives - The Jose Vilson

Guest Posts

These posts are a collection of all the guest writing and special pieces I’ve done for places like CNN, Education Week, and The Future of Teaching. Each post will feature a bracket with the place I blogged it right after the title. Please comment on those blogs on the original site.


Having a dress code matters in far too many schools. I know of schools where, on dress down days, kids wear strictly primary colors depending on their affiliations, or look down on one another for inexpensive wardrobe. It also sets a tone, teaching students early that coming to school is like coming to work in a way where looks matters, so dress appropriately. At least these are some of the arguments people use for dress code. In fact, the middle and high schools I went to as a student had strict guidelines for everything from summer dress to facial hair.

As a teacher, however, I just don’t think this needs to take precedence over my students’ learning.

Read. Comment. Share and share alike. You keep me writing. Thank you.

Jose, who had over 100 shares in his first Edutopia post … and he has you to thank for that

To my readers:

Thanks to your support, I am happy to announce that Edutopia has invited me to write a guest blog for their website. (Full disclosure: they’re sponsored by the George Lucas Education Foundation. Yes, that George Lucas.) Here’s an excerpt from my back-to-school posted entitled “Cheat Sheet for the First Days of School”:

As the bulletin boards go up and the chalkboards, whiteboards and Smartboards get dusted and polished for another intense school year, some of the newer teachers (at one point, this was me, too) scramble to remind themselves of the tone they need to set in the classroom, and how their own routines will often mirror students’ routines. Any good teacher knows that we all have shortcuts, a handy set of things we need to remember before we develop the other, more elaborate parts of our routine.

1) Develop an easy slogan for expectations in your classroom.

Having a slogan that everyone can remember will remind kids of the rules you clearly set in the beginning of the school year. Few of us (teachers included) look up at the rules and cite them in our punishment. Most teachers have a general guideline of behaviors that we expect and pull up quickly when a student has crossed a certain line. For instance, my slogan is usually founded on respect: i.e., “Respect yourself, respect me and respect each other.” Most of the rules we live by in the classroom follow in more detail. I rarely have to look up at the rules, because the kids remember the word “respect” and, for that matter, “disrespectful.”

As usual, I count on all of you to share, comment, and like the article in whatever capacity you can. Thanks a lot.

Jose, who has had a good Monday …


The trend of gamifying our culture has had some benefits in other areas. Weight Watchers uses a points system to discourage customers from eating fatty foods. Nike+ has developed a specialized program (with shoes!) that help you compete against others through exercise. Klout uses equations to help rank people and brands through social media. Games often find themselves in the tools we as teachers use to encourage kids to learn skills.

But there’s a huge difference between what those examples and Khan has evolved into; all those examples only supplement their ultimate purposes. Khan Academy’s mission now includes replacing and / or undermining the expert in the classroom.

Comment. Share. Love. Thanks.

Jose, who has about 26 hours left in this book competition. Time’s running out.

p.s. – Even McKayla Maroney is unimpressed with the peanuts at Khan Academy.

How Many Houses Have You Built? [On The Future of Teaching Blog]

July 24, 2012 Guest Posts

Excerpt: However, I can’t help but feel some sort of way about the risk / reward dynamic that’s played itself out when it comes to advocacy. As professionals, how long can teachers wait until our profession gets completely stripped away from us? How much will we tolerate policy committees and education panels without so much […]

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The Not-So-Secret Secret [A Piece of My Manuscript] [Middleweb]

June 19, 2012 Guest Posts

For a while, you’ve been told of this magical manuscript in the works now for the last two years. If you’re still here after waiting that long, congratulations. As a gift for your perseverance and dedication, I present to you an excerpt of said manuscript, sponsored by One time I kept the kids after […]

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On Rue, Trayvon, and All Of Our Children [My First CNN Exclusive]

April 2, 2012 Guest Posts

Excerpt: Teens are the predominant target group for this movie. At some point, don’t we as a society have to step in and question what we’re teaching our children about race? Isn’t it our responsibility as caring adults to tell our children that our differences only make our country richer in experience? How do we […]

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