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On Due Process, Or What You Call Tenure

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 13 Comments

For the purposes of this essay, I’m using the term “due process” in lieu of tenure because people like Whoopi Goldberg (and millions of others) confuse “tenure” for “job for life.” If that’s what we call “tenure,” then “due process” is more exact. More and more, what it means for K-12 educators and college professors is coming to a confluence. As far as my contract is concerned, it’s not like, …

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Another Reason I Don’t Like FOIL In Math

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 12 Comments

I recently wrote an article for Edutopia about factoring polynomials using areas and why FOIL is absolute crap: For one, I’m not a fan of FOIL (first-outside-inside-last) for a plethora of reasons. While I think it’s handy to have an acronym that reminds students of a procedure, it only works in a very special case. In this case, FOIL works only for multiplying a binomial by another binomial. Does FOIL …

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Personalization Depends On The Person

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 8 Comments

Any so-called innovation deserves a second and third look when it’s brought to kids, even if it’s from Sir Ken Robinson. I saw this in my timeline, which says the following: “Education doesn’t need to be reformed – it needs to be transformed. The key is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an …

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Reframing Expertise in Education (The Habitual Line-Stepper)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 9 Comments

In my travels this summer, I’m often asked to ponder this idea of expertise, and specifically, how education researchers and those in higher education can help K-12 teachers. Since I entered the teaching profession almost a decade ago, I’ve had this struggle with this idea. From articles where a writer with a PhD in education lays out a plan for how school systems should be run to speeches where a …

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Teacher Quality And The Decline In Teachers of Color

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 8 Comments

This morning, I came across this article on Huffington Post (I know, I know, hear me out, though) and thought I should ask questions about President Obama’s initiative to enforce former President George W. Bush’s mandates for “excellent teachers” to stay in the highest-need communities. Read this: President Barack Obama’s new initiative, titled “Excellent Educators For All,” seeks to ensure that states comply with the George W. Bush-era No Child …

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Hope Makes Teaching More Than A Job

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

Goodness, that last EduShyster’s interview was epic. There’s a whole piece that we didn’t even get to share with you because, well, it would hurt some people’s favorite bloggers / heroes / activists’ feelings. Really, the biggest difference between Audrey Watters’ awesome Twitter interview pre-This Is Not A Test and EduShyster’s recent, also awesome interview was the relationship each has to me. I consider Audrey a friend and, dare I …

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Retroactively Paying It Forward (On The City – UFT Contract)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

In case it hasn’t already flooded your airwaves already, the De Blasio administration and the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) reached a tentative agreement to finally get teachers their just due. While I haven’t pored over the details of the contract, I’m certainly happy with any salary increase at this point. After four years without contract, the cost of living has jumped higher and higher without matching recompense for some …

So What If It’s Not Relevant Right Now? (Just Math It)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 4 Comments

This week, I’m supposed to teach my students how to solve a system of equations by elimination. It’s the hardest of the four ways  for solving systems (graphing, substitution, guess-and-checking), and I’m not entirely sure everyone in the class gets the first three. The main point of the unit is to determine exactly where two or more linear relationships meet, if they ever do. The situation could be realistic (two …

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No Really, Stay In Class

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 7 Comments

After lunch, students drag their feet to class, chatting it up with friends in the hallway, taking elongated sips of fountain water, peeking into their former teachers’ classes, and generally finding any excuse to not go to their next class. Even as passionate, deliberate, and rock star-ish as I am, kids still do this for my class, too. Students after lunch drag their feet on the routines we established in …

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Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom and How We Plant Seeds

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

Confession: I didn’t get a chance to see Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom before taking my students. Confession #2: My kids wouldn’t have gone to see it either if I didn’t bring them myself. Here’s the thing about auto-bio pics that people don’t want to say, but will readily admit: if our youth don’t get a sense of why something or someone is important, they won’t pay attention to it. …