Archive for March 2017

After speaking with undocumented parents, I know what it means to be humbled

I never understood what people meant when they said, “I am humbled that . . .” I’ve heard this from famous people accepting awards or from people receiving some grand recognition. The expression sounded insincere. It actually came off as self-aggrandizing: “Let me try to be ordinary, try to sound unpretentious.” So I never used the expression.... Read more »

Why are so many of Chicago's Southwest side sewers clogged?

One of ten giant puddles of water on the Southwest side that won't go down a clogged sewer.
It was a rainy weekend–but nothing significant enough to flood our streets.  All the rain should have gone down the sewers.  But around the Southwest side on the east side of Midway Airport, lots of streets have giant puddles of rain water. Within fifteen minutes this Sunday morning, I drove from 55th to 67th, from... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools leaders ignore Southwest side teens—again

At Wednesday’s Board meeting, Chicago Public Schools leaders approved $300 million for construction projects—but none of this will go to improve the facilities at Hancock College Prep, the city’s newest Selective Enrollment high school and the first and only magnet high school on the Southwest side. In January, six Hancock students and I spoke at... Read more »
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How Chicago Public Schools students challenge toxic gender expectations

Through a collaboration with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, I wrote about how I balance the academic part of teaching with meeting my students’ social-emotional needs in today’s world. One assignment I developed for my junior English classes helps students engage in difficult conversations, without actually putting me at the forefront. “Toxic masculinity”... Read more »

I hope "Hamilton" encourages my son and other boys to pursue the performing arts

The arts don’t always come easy for boys. We expect girls to sing and dance and perform. When it comes to boys doing the same, it’s not easy—especially as boys get older. I sat next to my eleven-year-old son today as we watched “Hamilton” in Chicago. He knows the songs; he knows the story. When... Read more »

Chicago Public Schools parent says not to base high-school selection on test scores

This week, Chicago Public Schools notified students if they were accepted to Selective-Enrollment high schools, schools whose admission is based on test scores. Coveted seats at the city’s top high schools create moments of excitement and relief for those students who gain admission, disappointment and disquietude for those who get rejected. In a Facebook post,... Read more »
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How to teach students if humor is thought provoking or hurtful

One of the things I value the most about being a teacher is laughing with my Chicago Public Schools students.  Throughout the years, I’ve laughed at some pretty ridiculous things.  Like the time, not too long ago during a lunch period, when I ended up in the middle of a pull-up challenge with a bunch... Read more »