Commentary: New Year’s Resolutions for LAUSD
Happy New Year! 2014 is going to be an amazing year; I know it because I found LA Unified’s list of New Year’s Resolutions scribbled on a napkin at Philippe’s French Dip. Okay, I didn’t. But wouldn’t it be great if I did? I mean, if anyone needs to change, isn’t it LAUSD? Here’s what...
By Ellie Herman | January 7, 2014
Commentary: The Idiot’s Guide to the Common Core Standards
How much do you know about the Common Core Standards? Choose all that apply. The Common Core is: a) a new set of nationwide standards that will encourage deep thinking instead of rote memorization b) a new round of edu-crap, like No Child Left Behind c) replacing state standards in 45 states including California d) causing...
By Ellie Herman | December 19, 2013
Commentary: 10 Steps (Give or Take) to Avoid Teacher Burnout
Recently, a reader commented on one of my posts, asking me to offer some concrete goals and steps to avoid burnout. First of all, thank you for asking my advice. I am no expert on burnout except that I personally experienced it. For truly professional advice, I highly recommend a book by Christina Maslach and...
By Ellie Herman | December 11, 2013
Commentary: Why Teachers Teach? — Need You Ask?
We talk about their success stories, the kids who text them from college, invite them to their weddings, grow up and become teachers themselves. We talk about their heartbreaks, the kids who for one reason or another don’t make it, who drop out, who disappear. We talk about their frustrations, the kids with behavior issues,...
By Ellie Herman | November 26, 2013
Commentary: A Teacher’s Story of Burn Out — Or How ‘La Bestia’ Won
I burned out after teaching for five years at a high school in a very low-income neighborhood. What made me burn out was not that so many of my students came in with reading skills several years behind their grade level. Nor was it that many of them also came in with a history of...
By Ellie Herman | November 14, 2013
Commentary: First, We Have to Stop the Overcrowding
In Dennis Danziger’s English class at Venice High, they play musical chairs every day; if you come in late, you don’t get a desk and have to sit in a chair on the sidelines. Unfortunately, they’re not playing for fun. They’re playing because his class of 50 students is so overcrowded the students can barely...
By Ellie Herman | November 1, 2013
Commentary: Pump Down the Volume on Rhetoric
Can we tone down the rhetoric a little? It’s getting hard to hear in here. I’m an English teacher. Though I taught at a charter school for five years, I’ve been reading Diane Ravitch’s work for a long time and think she’s raising some very important concerns about the at-risk kids left behind by the...
By Ellie Herman | October 16, 2013