Building A Better Teacher by Elizabeth Green

Pedagogy First (A Note on Elizabeth Green’s Building A Better Teacher)

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Every so often, I love reading other folks talk about standards without any current teachers present in their conversation. Even a cursory read of education history in this country shows how intellectual [white] men throw their moral and scholarly swag about what teachers should and shouldn’t be focused on. On the other hand, the teachers I eavesdrop on try to out-intellectual the folks imposing their “thought leadership” onto those of …

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Not All My Teacherfolk Are My Kinfolk

Jose Vilson Jose 14 Comments

Tiffanie Drayton’s open letter to the teachers who wore NYPD t-shirts on the first day of school ought to be printed and passed around in every staff meeting: To your Black and Latino students, many of whom must have serious conversations with their parents about safeguarding their person from those charged to serve and protect them — the NYPD — your actions are deeply hurtful. Any remaining innocence they brought …

I-love-coffee

On Honest and Civil Conversation (Simmer Down Now)

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

The first audience reaction to my speech at the Network for Public Education came from a older, burly white man with big hands and a soft voice. Not that any of this scares me much since I’m from the hood, but context matters. “Jose, I’m glad you’re here and I appreciate what you had to say today, but, when you referred to Tea Party people as subhuman …” Whoa, what? …

Classroom Window

Changing The Narrative, Right From My Classroom

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Tomorrow, New York City teachers go for their first day back from vacation. With no kids and two weeks to clean out their caches (well, some of us), we’ll hopefully come back refreshed and ready to take on the relentless energies of the burgeoning young minds in front of us. Or whatever it is we choose to believe. This year, I’ve never been as excited to hop in and do …

My actual classroom from eight years ago. Same room this year, too.

Meeting My Once and Future Classroom

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Meet my once and future classroom. It once had a exposed wooden door, working lights, nine unmarked boxes, beige lockers, and a second year teacher scared for his career. I know this because I was him eight years ago. Throughout the year, the desks rumbled and shuffled about the class, sometimes in groups, in pairs, or in single row and file while students and their teacher prepared for tests of …

Our School by Sam Chaltain

Our School and How I Just Want To Hear What Happened

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

This is a quick blog recommending that you read Our School by Sam Chaltain. I’m in the throes of reading three edu-books in a row while promoting mine. What Chaltain provides in buckets is a first-hand account of what’s happening in two different, but clearly interesting schools in Washington, DC. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t a book review. For most of my educational career, I’ve mostly read books that already come …

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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, …

Marvin Gaye singing

Adults, Please Get Out The Way [How Students Do It]

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

This morning, I imagined Marvin Gaye would have a few things to say about what’s going on today: Today was supposed to be Michael Brown’s fourth day in college, getting acclimated with the ins and outs of college life, surely different than the humdrum K-12 bells. Sadly, he never got his chance at college and career readiness as the Ferguson police’s hands still smell of blood and tear gas. We …

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When Can We Talk About Race? (Michael + Trayvon + Renisha + …)

Jose Vilson Jose 13 Comments

This is often the way education conversations go: Higher-Up: Hey, so what do people want to talk about? Teacher 1: Can we talk about teacher evaluation? Higher-Up: Sure, what’s on your mind? Teacher 1: Well, here it goes. [long diatribe about how great / terrible Danielson is] Higher-Up: Well, OK. Anyone else? Teacher 2 (of color): Can we talk about race now? Higher-Up: Sounds complicated. We need a more appropriate …