Showing posts from May, 2018

Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

As I wind up my 24th year of teaching in Los Angeles classrooms , I pause to think of my past lives in different schools and neighborhoods. While presenting to students in Finland I always included a slide of past eras of my life such as growing up in the Eastside, college and adulthood in the Westside, teaching on the Southside, and married life in the Valley. Apart from being a native Angeleno, significant years of my life have been spent living in many parts of town, and teaching in many communities. I love all of them.

Which is why I have no doubt in my mind that what students all over L.A. need more than anything is an ally on the school board. My South Central students need a warrior who recognizes that our teachers’ strike was more than just a salary dispute, but a movement to reclaim our rightful place as agents of change in the profession we love. One that will help us do our jobs serving students. My West Valley students need a fighter who will challenge our legislators to …

A Castle, a Fulbrighter, and Funny Questions

Part of being a Fulbrighter is that you get to join a network of scholars, teachers, professionals, students, and artists. Fortunately for me, I met two dynamic Finnish teachers in Washington DC, the summer before my trip. This allowed me the possibility to visit their schools, much in the same way they did when they were in the United States. My visit to Ahveniston Koulu in Hameenlinna, was truly a treat. Emilia is an English teacher and travel blogger, and has maintained her own blog about her Fulbright experience at In many school visits, I do a general presentation about California, and then have a Q and A period afterwards. Many Finnish students are shy, and at first, I thought I was bombing my presentations. Teachers assured me that if the students were quiet it meant they were engaged.
Visit for the presentation.
Nonetheless, I gave students many ways they could ask questions: ·Verbally-this was…

Nature Training for Teachers

On the afternoon of my second day shadowing Sara Kall, nature school teacher from Kokkola, I was prepared to sit in the back of a room, taking notes on my laptop, while Sara trained 7 early education teachers at Triselvran Pre-School.

The two-hour training was a service that nature schools provide to traditional schools. Because of the vast autonomy of schools and teachers in the educational system of Finland, some schools may not sign up for the sponsor program that sends children for monthly full day field trips to nature. Instead, they may choose to sign up for four days a year of this. Or they may choose to request Sara’s services to train teachers to do the nature activities themselves.
We were at one of these such trainings, and Sara had her box of tricks with her. Upon arrival at 4:00 pm, we set up the box…in the snow, on the playground. Of course, we would be outside…in 10 degrees….it’s a nature training! I was sheepish.
For the next two hours, Sara trained teachers on a vari…