Tag: education

The Beautiful Story of a D-Rated School



Letter grades can’t possibly tell the whole story of a school. An inside look at the passionate work of a school our state says is a letter away from failing.

(Author’s note: this story was originally published in September 2015.)

A few weeks ago, my wife began her fifteenth year teaching elementary school music. She’s been in the same classroom and the same school for her entire career, and she’s seen thousands of kids come through her hallway.

She enjoys her job; she teaches every kid in the building, so she’s kind of like a local celebrity. We rarely can make it through the grocery store (or anywhere around town) without someone running up to her, hugging her leg, and running off with a smile. It’s a happy thing to see.

This week, though, her school received a North Carolina school performance grade of D.

Dear Teacher: Why I Quit


Or, how I went from Teacher of the Year to suspended with pay in less than 24 hours.

It’s August, and for some of you that means the final countdown to work is now with us. Summer’s freedom is evaporating like heat shimmers from a blacktop highway.

This isn’t always a bad thing. I know plenty of teachers who, though they love having time off, are excited to break into their classrooms and face the blank walls, eager to unpack the posters they picked up in July, ready to set into motion the lessons that have been hiding in the corners, anxious for students to try them. August is a thrilling month for these teachers. It was thrilling for me. There was nothing more satisfying for my head and my heart than to hold, fresh off the printer, my syllabus for American Literature, or English Language and Composition, or Creative Writing.

But August is a different month for me now. I quit teaching almost five years ago. If you’ve never known why, it’s best if I start at the beginning of the story.

Dear Teacher | I’m Sorry



Dear Teacher,

Sometimes I wonder if the words “I’m sorry” are what people want you to say.  By people, I mean the ardent critics complaining that tax-payers should stop wasting money or–my favorite expression–throwing money at problems in the classroom, and instead ask educators to live within the means of a shrunken state budget. The ones who suggest that you’re not working hard enough, that you need to prove your worth as teachers before you earn more money. Meanwhile, it’s just you, the thirty-four kids assigned to your classroom every block, and an email from your principal reminding you that at the rate it’s going, your school will be devoid of copy paper within five weeks.

I’m writing you today to ask you to never apologize.

Page 2 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén