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College and Career Whatever Have You

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

A couple of years ago, I had a heavy-set, lighter-skinned student who spaced out for about half my class every day. He twiddled his pencil, shaved it down til the disposable paint cluttered the desk along with his extra-large binder. He did most of his multiplication on his head, which …






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Mission High and the Full Beauty of the World

Jose Vilson Jose 13 Comments

Let me first recommend everyone read Kristina Rizga’s Mission High: One School, How Experts Tried To Fail It, and the Students and Teachers Who Made It Triumph (Nation Books, 2015). I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you how many education books I’ve read in the last few years that …






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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 …






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A Whole Month Left (A Freewrite)

Jose Vilson Jose 0 Comments

“You’re going to miss us!” “Yes, I’m going to miss bothering the heck out of you!” I mean, why do students think we’re actually going to spend our off time thinking about them? Except when we do. Like now. There’s only a month left before we usher them on to …






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The Kids Will Tell You

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 4 Comments

On Saturday, I had the honor of listening to eight teens from a high school in Harlem for about 1/2 an hour (it was the third of four stops that Saturday), hosted by Columbia University professor and Twitter associate Christopher Emdin. While I didn’t get a chance to sit for …