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Showing posts from June, 2018

Why This Teacher Needs Jackie Goldberg on the School Board

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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 …

Leaving Finland

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I have never lived anywhere for 5 months other than Jyvaskyla, Finland. As my Fulbright journey concludes, there is so much to still digest. It will take months, if not years, to truly assimilate all the learning.

Before I left Southern California, I wrote about the what I would miss the most from home and what I  looked forward to experiencing in Finland. It is safe to say I met my goals.

Top 7 Goals
1. Discussing Education
Through professional development programs, Fulbright Finland connected teachers with scholars and researchers, for the purpose of putting inquisitive minds together. The Making Democracies Resilient to Modern Threats seminar provided participants with fascinating research and presentations.

2. Nordic Model

What does an efficient and earnest country look like?  It looks like Finland. Yes, people pay higher taxes, but get so much in return. I for one appreciated the well-maintained roads, clean and timely public transportation, and the work-life balance.


3. Nature


The People who Make Fulbright Happen

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As I conclude my Fulbright project, it goes without saying that I could not have done this alone. The help I’ve received along the way has been heartwarming and supportive. I am so proud to have been able to represent teachers and my community in Finland. Jose Govea This unceasing advocate for teachers is my area union rep. When he heard I was awarded my Fulbright grant, he went into action to make sure I received some type of compensation from the hard to navigate district I work in. We realized the deadline had passed for the correct leave of absence to make this happen, but he said, “I’m willing to do battle for a Fulbrighter.” Thanks to Jose, I was able to receive financial support from my district while away on leave. The IIE
The International Institute for Education manages the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching program which sent me to Finland. This first-class organization supported me each step of the way, from the orientation in August to departure in January. While…

When Typical Means Outstanding

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With only a few weeks left on my Finnish Fulbright learning experience, I was eager to set a date to visit the other 2018 Finnish Fulbrighter's school near Tampere, FI. Sanna Leinonen is a well-known educational leader with over 20 years of experience teaching at Ylojarven Lukio, and a Fulbright teacher.

Every minute of every school visit is a learning experience.
Location

Ylojarven is a town west of Tampere, and as such, it is the only local high school (Lukio) in the area. Students commute from rather long distances to get to the school. I was always tickled to see tractors in the parking lot belonging to those from a more rural background, but more often than not, I saw motor bikes and bicycles in the parking lot.
Staggered Arrivals and Flexible Schedules for Teachers
Because each student's schedule is so customized, some students did not arrive to school until 10:00 am, or sometimes they had to leave class 20-30 minutes early. This always happened quietly and unobtrusivel…