Beautiful Bytes of Data

Jose Vilson Guest Posts 24 Comments

[Today’s special guest is Anthony Mullen, 2009 Teacher of the Year and awesome writer. Feel free to tell us what you think about his post in the comments below.] The young man wearing blue jeans and a red and white polo shirt is anxious. He frequently looks at his watch, shaking his head while staring at the train tracks. He is restless and angry and impatient because the train is …

Stand Up On The Train

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

She’s got auburn hair, a blue cottony zip-up sweater, and navy blue uniform pants. She gets on the train searching left and right, for a face perhaps. She’s slightly jolted when the blonde woman in the velvet-black suit jacket and sharp black heels. She’s standing there, exasperated, but looking straight ahead. At what, I’m not sure. No one else notices because everyone on this train looks outward, but in no …

Empty Chair

A Suspension of Time and School

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 9 Comments

You weren’t supposed to come back. Even though you were on our school’s roster, rumor had it that your guardian put you in a different school, and you’d no longer half-bounce into my class, calling one of your friends a “nigga-what-the-fuck” for something they allegedly did to you. Before you came back, you only knew me as the second math teacher, the Black-possibly-Dominican guy who came in to help your …

A Quick Note on Student Voice [Because You Need To Hear It … Again]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

A couple of days back, I saw an incident with one of my student ambassadors and a teacher. Nothing to write the Post about, but tempers flared, and misunderstandings ensued. Yelling and consternation spill over to the hallway. Frankly, a huge misunderstanding only inflated by the fact that other adults who felt like pushing the buttons deeper instead of pulling them back. The only phrase that kept ringing in my …

Don’t Let Me Down [On Opening Up When Things Go Down]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 5 Comments

You’re not supposed to know when your student is this close to suicide. You get up in front of the classroom, get students started on their work, and get into the routine. Whether the routine comes from you or them matters little. The room buzzes for a while as they sit, but when the notebooks come out, the notebook pages ruffle, the pencils scratch, and your shoes tap along the …


Teachers Teach and Do The World Good [Why We Write Series]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

My lunch period usually consists of a walk around the way with a strawberry-banana-mango protein shake and a baked empanada, enough to hold me over until five o’clock dinner, usually uninterrupted by the passersby, especially not a former student yelling my name for the entire neighborhood to hear. “Oh my God, is that who I think it is?” I push my Kangol a little lower, smile quietly, and keep walking, …


On Setting Expectations In Your Classroom [For The Student You Once Were]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

“You’re not old now. You’re old when you start teaching your former students’ kids. THAT’S when you know!” We laughed. Mr. Herrera is the type of teacher who had a way of reminding people that we should laugh at the process of aging as teachers, especially those of us who love our jobs. This year, I have the privilege of teaching three students whose siblings I’ve taught. While I absolutely …