So You Say You Want To Teach, Eh?

I think it is safe to say that most adults in the professional world fantasize about making a radical career change at one point or another.  Teachers might actually be the winners in the category of career-changing fantasies, but today’s post is about the opposite.  I want to talk about professionals who actually leave their […]

When Schools Become Toxic

Is Your School System Toxic? When I debuted The Unexplained Maine Classroom six months ago, I vowed to keep the conversation positive.  There are too many blogs and articles out there that disparage the teaching profession with endless complaints and too few solutions. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to have a serious conversation […]

What If We Changed The School Year?

This past week I was on vacation in Canada and I was able to make contact with a recently retired teacher, which got me wondering and asking questions about the things that are different just across the border in Canadian schools.  Canada has higher math and reading scores than the United States on international assessments, […]

Too Much Math and Reading in Schools?

My title and role in my district is Math Strategist.  I love that title, because it sounds really important, and because it implies that I get to concoct strategies.  Who doesn’t love problem solving?  The word “math” seems to create some uneasiness when I tell people I am a math strategist, though; they seem to […]

On The Premise That All Kids Can Learn

I am of the opinion that American presidents have not exhibited a great deal of knowledge of the real issues that face public education in recent decades.  They each exhibit varying degrees of astute expertise in other fields, but no recent Commander In Chief has ushered in anything close to an era of great growth […]

The Intentional Professional Learning Community

Readers who are familiar with the professional culture in most public education environments will have had experiences in “professional learning communities.” These are typically small teams of teachers assigned to work together to improve their instruction through careful examination of data, review of instructional techniques and resources, and ultimately revision of instructional practices.  PLCs, as […]

School’s Almost Out

Summer is just about here and teachers and students all over Maine will rejoice at the end of this week.  In warmer places, they have been out for a couple weeks already.  Summers, like the school year itself, can be a psychological challenge for those of us tied to the school year schedule.  You want […]

The Common Core, Testing, And Other Distractions.

This week I received a note on behalf of a group of educators in a district where I used to teach, where the “culture of accountability” continues to take a heavy toll on teacher morale.  The note included the transcript of a heartfelt address to the district school committee, and I’d like to share the […]

Changing the Climate and Culture of Teaching

Since the first Unrealized Maine Classroom entry over three months ago, I have been especially preoccupied with the theme of non-instructional professional time for public school educators.  The unofficial UMC philosophy is that while there are many elements of public education in Maine and America that hinder its mission to thrust the most prepared and […]