Good day, honorable teacher

honorable teacher julie nariman

Eric is running to his third period class, weaving between throngs of students.

He sees me.  He halts.  He stands squarely in front of me.

He bows deeply.

“Anyong haseyo sunsengnim,” he says with perfect Korean pronunciation.  Good day, honorable teacher.

“Anyong haseyo, hakseng,” I reply.  Good day, honorable student.*

He grins and walks to class. Continue reading

There’s a yellow M&M in stairwell six

yellow M&M“There’s a yellow M&M in stairwell six, on the second floor,” I said to a staff member.  “Could you find a student to clean it up?”

He smiled at me, but nodded.  I could tell he was thinking, “An M&M? Only an M&M?”  We’ve had much worse in our stairwells: milk cartons, used napkins, and my personal un-favorite: ketchup smeared on the banisters.

“Only” an M & M is progress: it means my staff is enlisting students to clean the stairwells throughout the day, which is exactly what I want them to do. Continue reading

Fair isn’t always equal

in the classroom

Yesterday, when I visited Mr. D’s English class, I didn’t notice Jose.*  This is notable.

I always notice Jose.  Jose is a student who normally disrupts classes, or wanders the hallways to avoid class.  We have spent countless hours trying to support Jose in behaving and learning.

Yet in Mr. D’s English class, I didn’t notice Jose.  Why?  Because Jose was sitting at a table, quietly annotating a text.  He worked throughout the period, causing no disruption. Continue reading