14 things I learned this year

1. “Letting great people do their own thing” is a good leadership strategy. It also has its limits.

2. A good sample can be more important than a good rubric.

3. No matter how passionately you believe you are right, doing “your own thing” in the classroom has a transaction cost, where kids have to figure out what you are doing instead of what they are doing. Renegading feels good, but is not best practices.

4. A school without vision and values is a school in conflict.

5. I’m not sure if social media exacerbates or creates madness, but the levels of depravity seemingly normal people are capable of is truly and terribly magnificent.

6. If you really want kids to remember something, there are worst strategies than just repeating it every single day.

7. I’m never scaffolding enough for freshmen. They devour scaffolding.

8. Poetry slams are really fun, until they go too long. Then they are no fun at all.

9. Convincing kids to revise a good piece is 10 time harder than convincing them to write a good piece.

10. Arguing on Twitter is the proverbial fighting monsters. You inevitably become one.

11. It’s the year 2030, and there’s still that one kid who insists on emailing a Microsoft Word document instead of Google Docs.

12. Testing has become the status quo. Kids expect to stress over mandated testing, and expect you to be part of that stress.

13. In 10 years, Lil’ Wayne’s first verse in “Mr. Carter” will still be an excellent way to teach poetic devices.

14. Even the best schools, the schools you wish you could work in, have their terrible days. To school is to struggle.

One thought on “14 things I learned this year

  1. Man, this is a good list. If you were to tweet this out an item at a time I would do a lot of retweeting. Just sayin.

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