Skip to content

One billion years ago, I taught a third grader named Kaity to multiply.  Last night, as Elysha and I were leaving for a Moth StorySLAM in Somerville, I asked Kaity, now an adult and frequent babysitter to our children, to help my third grade daughter with her multiplication homework.  It was surreal.  No one ever…

Read More

Here is the Secretary of Education for the United States of America, the caretaker of our public schools, the protector of our children’s future, and also a person who has never taught in a school, never worked in a public school, and never sent her children to a public school, trying her hardest to avoid…

Read More

As a teacher and a writer, I often give parents advice on helping their children to become effective writers who (more importantly) love to write. My advice is simple: Be the best audience possible for your child’s work. If he or she wants to read something to you, drop everything. Allow the chicken to burn…

Read More

I have been teaching at the same elementary school in West Hartford, CT since the fall of 1999. The way that this school and its people have become intertwined in my life astounds me.   Just over the course of the Columbus Day weekend: I went to a Moth StorySLAM in Boston with a former colleague.…

Read More

Attention politicians, policy wonks, educational advocates, professors of education, and anyone else who wants to have a say in education: “Every human being who wants to have an opinion of American education ought to spend some time as a substitute teacher.” – Nicholson Baker, the author of Substitute, who served as a substitute teacher for…

Read More

Here’s a little secret about me that I’ve never shared with anyone before: Every time I tie my shoes, I think of Mrs. Carroll, the teaching assistant who sat at a table in the hallway between Mrs. Dubois and Mrs. Roberge’s kindergarten classroom at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Blackstone, MA. Mrs. Carroll taught…

Read More

This is a TEDx Talk that I delivered in April of 2016 at The Country School in Madison, CT. The conference was run almost exclusively by the students of the school, who were of middle and high school age. It’s a variation of a talk that I have delivered before about the idea that teachers…

Read More

My daughter and I pulled this book off her shelf last night, written by a former student named Maddie and given to Clara when she was born seven years ago. It’s been hiding in the back between other books.  My wife taught Maddie as well. One of those rare students who was blessed with having…

Read More

I made another appearance on Slate’s parenting podcast Mom and Dad Are Fighting, talking about how to handle discussions with children about horrific tragedies like the terrorist attacks in Paris or the mass shooting in San Bernardino (which was actually taking place while we recorded my segment).  

Read More

Never, ever ask a woman if she is pregnant. Old people look weird but have lots and lots of good stuff to say. “I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I won’t do that again,” is always the best first response to any trouble you may be in. The people who make their dreams come true…

Read More