Showing posts from May, 2018

On Strike

The public supports us.

Being on strike makes me proud. To see and hear the support of the public every morning on the picket line, I am further convinced L.A. teachers made the right choice to leave the classroom. It is not an easy choice for many single income teachers, but it is one of the reasons we are striking. Teachers should not have to live paycheck to paycheck when educating society's children.

But our strike is about more than that, and it seems the public is aware of what we have been concerned about for years. In the middle of one morning's picket session I realized that the education reformers had been so very wrong in what they were telling us. The public knows and understands that we know what's best for children in schools. They place their precious children in our hands to educate, and want us to do our job unencumbered by district edicts and structures that get in the way.

The public supports us.

Being on strike is not what I thought it would be. It is be…

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…