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Despite All My Rage

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

I normally talk to young adults about math and other academics, but recently, because we’re winding up the school year, subjects have expanded to Fetty Wap and flicking wrists. The currency for “young and cool” changes over time, almost as quickly as we age. Yet, on this day, the subject turned to teachers. They went on to gossip about their favorite and least favorite teachers in the building. For a …

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Much Ado About 20 Days Left [On Whatever Teaching We Have Left]

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Don’t hold me accountable for the next 20 days, please. Pretty please. I get it. Every day is an instructional day. Every day, I’m supposed to engage students, activate their minds, differentiate for all learners, and use multiple assessments to make sure my lesson plan got through to the students. I’ll hold myself to that until June 26th, and with luck, most of my students will too. After 10 years …

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Teacher Appreciation

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

The last time I saw her, she was a proud teacher to students with special needs. We discussed the future of activism in education and the great work coming out of efforts we have worked on together. She has built her voice through song, social justice, and, just as important, students. This week, she informed a collection of us that her principal fired her from the profession she loved. The …

this is not a test book party

Stare Them In The Eyes

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

When John Norton, editor and writing guru, was having long conversations with me on Skype about the direction of my book, he often told me that the book would elevate my voice in ways I couldn’t imagine. The morning after my book dropped on May 6th, 2014, I was on a train to meet Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. My strategy in conversing with politicians with whom I vehemently disagree …

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Were You At The Protest, Too?

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

“Were you at the protest, too?” I’ve had no less than four people ask my directly why I haven’t written about my classroom experiences lately. Some of it stems from speaking truth to the gaping hole I continue to see in education writing, namely the intersectional race lens of events like the Atlanta cheating scandal and the Baltimore uprising. At this stage of the game, these events deserve more attention …

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Up Next

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

I’ve changed my mind. We need to lift folks doing the work. A few years ago, my former principal, a colleague and I attended a special conference at New York University at the behest of one of NYC Department of Education’s deputy directors, who was slated to be on this crucial panel on high schools. NYU’s School of Education would present its findings on high school graduation rates, finding that the Bloomberg …

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For What It’s Worth (On Blogging As A Teacher for Eight Years)

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

I hadn’t realized this until now, but I’ve now been blogging on this platform for eight years. I don’t feel all that different, but I’m almost certain I am. Looking through some of my older posts, I feel like a whole different writer, probably because I got my butt handed to me on numerous occasions by different editors along the way. As a classroom teacher, I don’t have the luxury …

A System of Ninety Equations

Jose Vilson Jose 5 Comments

I barely know what week I’m in right now. We just finished the second marking period and we’re just starting to get into systems of equations. I went through a few moments of “I can’t believe this is what they turned in” to “Yes, exactly, this this this!” and everything in between. I’ve known loneliness intimately in school, embraced it, and hoped it meant my voice meant more and not …

Paul McCartney by Irina March

Live and Let Die

Jose Vilson Jose 8 Comments

On Saturday morning, I was flipping channels, trying to take my mind off last week when I saw the Shrek series come on. I’d already watched them, but, for some reason, I couldn’t stop watching the larger gingerbread man try to beat back a cauldron of warm milk while pulling down a castle drawbridge. By Shrek 3, we see the king, revealed as a frog in Shrek 2, on his …

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Week 13: Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See

Jose Vilson Jose, Mr. Vilson 8 Comments

This morning, I woke up in a haze. After attending the Teachers for Social Justice curriculum fair in Chicago this weekend, I felt empowered to move students in a direction that continues to empower them. On Monday, my mind felt less optimistic about my day at school, in dealing with both students and adults. After school, and for the last 100 days, I knew that there would be no indictment, …