Male Chicago Public Schools student finds courage through sewing

Male Chicago Public Schools student finds courage through sewing
At Catalyst-Chicago’s Classroom Story Slam Friday, I was honored to read one of my student’s essays.  Carlos Hernandez is a junior who is a humble gentleman, an honor roll student, a part-time dishwasher at an Asian restaurant, and simply a cool fella–who dresses sharp as hell.  He is a leader simply because he is himself,... Read more »

Teacher Stories at Catalyst-Chicago's Classroom Story Slam

This Friday, Catalyst-Chicago holds its third Classroom Story Slam as it celebrates twenty-five years of education reporting. The idea behind this event, according to Founder and Publisher Linda Lenz, is relationship building and inspiration. A number of teachers, including me, told stories about opportunity and equity at the last two events. My story about teaching... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools student struggles but graduates

This guest post is by my student Diana Morales, who graduated last week. I remember being so excited to enter high school. Graduating from eighth grade was so much fun but at the same time scary because I knew what was coming my way. Once I entered high school and completed my first year I... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools graduate on the responsibility that comes with education

Chicago Public Schools graduate on the responsibility that comes with education
My proudest moments as a teacher are when I can sit back and watch my students use their own words to express themselves.  Lisseth Perez delivered the closing speech at Monday night’s Hancock College Prep commencement ceremony.  Inspired by the missing 43 students of Ayotzinapa, Lisseth moved many in the audience to tears and had... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools student explains education

This year, I had the pleasure of working with a brilliant young man in my journalism class.  Juan Toledo possesses a passion for writing.  A couple of weeks ago, he told me about his poetry.  His social consciousness recognizes the inequalities that exist in education.  Despite his own educational challenges, something somewhere went right in... Read more »

How a Chicago Public Schools student dealt with grief

Lidia Lemus is a junior at Hancock College Prep High School on the city’s Southwest side.  Earlier this year, she faced the death of a loved one for the first time.  While everyone’s journey through the stages of grief is different, Lidia offers this reflection about her experience. On Wednesday February 11, 2015 I received... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools valedictorian victimized by Chicago police

A couple of weeks ago, I asked my mentee Jaime Bautista, the school’s valedictorian, to write a reflection about his new perspective of the world since he started working while in high school.  Unfortunately, Monday night after work, Jaime texted me that he had this ugly run in with two Chicago police officers.  While not... Read more »

What a Chicago Public Schools valedictorian learned from his first job

For many teens who work and go to high school, life becomes a balancing act of responsibilities.  This spring, the valedictorian at the Southwest side high school where I teach began to confront a new reality in “the real world.”  I proudly share this guest post by my student and mentee Jaime Bautista. I remember... Read more »

Why my students' Advanced Placement scores matter. And why they don't.

I fight the obsession with testing and over-testing in our classrooms.  Yet, given the choice, I choose to teach AP English Language every chance I get.  After months of intense writing and thinking, over sixty of my students took their AP test this morning.  This is the sixth time I’ve taught this class.  And each... Read more »

Is Chicago Public Schools setting up the Chicago Teachers Union to strike?

Maybe I shouldn’t have obsessed over the Starz program Boss.  Maybe Sunday’s binge watching of Scandal raised my sensibilities.  Still, I’m trusting my gut, and my gut has never been wrong either.  Underhanded political games similar to those in my favorite television dramas may be gluing all of us to our TV sets and mobile phones... Read more »