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First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our
submission guidelines here
July 11, 2017
Long lines, few supplies, fearing the boss: One teacher says his Bronx school was ‘just like Poland, 40 years ago’
Tomasz "Tomek" Krzyzostaniak, a Bronx teacher whose family emigrated from Poland in 1991, sees many similarities between the two -- from long lines to a shortage of supplies.
June 27, 2017
I’m on a Community Education Council in Manhattan. Mayor de Blasio, we need to move faster on school integration
The diversity plan the city released this month is a beginning. However, the black and Hispanic children of this city do not have decades to wait for us to make change.
June 20, 2017
I dropped out of school in Denver at 13. Here’s how I ended up back in the classroom helping kids learn.
My daughter's teacher told me I should come work there because I was a natural teacher. I think my answer to her was, “Yeah, seriously.”
June 19, 2017
I think traditional public schools are the backbone of democracy. My child attends a charter school. Let’s talk.
The dialogue around school choice in Nashville doesn’t often include much nuance — or many voices of parents like me.
June 15, 2017
I had an anxiety attack in school, and a social worker saved me. What about the students without one?
Right now, somewhere in the Bronx, there is a young girl like me, having her first anxiety attack, a Brooklyn junior writes. Is there a social worker for her?
June 13, 2017
How I went from a restorative justice skeptic to a restorative justice believer
Restorative justice practices are not a means for excusing student misbehavior, a New York City high school teacher writes.
Politics & Policy
May 13, 2017
To close out teacher appreciation week, meet the educators whose voices help shape the education conversation
From designing puzzles to get kids fired up about French to being christened “school mama” by students, teachers go above and beyond to…
May 9, 2017
I’m a black man raised on the mistaken idea that education could keep me safe. Here’s what I teach my students in the age of Jordan Edwards
"It’s a near impossible task to educate black children in a society that constantly interrupts that work with such violence."
May 8, 2017
My neighbors told the New York Times that going to our local school is ‘malpractice.’ We picked it anyway
In the latest How We Got Here story, a New York City mom recounts her family's path to their neighborhood school, which many other middle-class white families spurn.
May 4, 2017
What this teacher learned when her discipline system went awry — for all the right reasons
The author, a teacher at P.S. 11 in Chelsea, shared this story at Teachable Moments, a live storytelling event.
April 26, 2017
How I stopped wishing for ‘seventh-period flu’ and came to love my first year teaching
For Autumn Jones, last period was her “dead fish” class. A student conversation helped turn it around — and a new group helped her realize her limits.
April 25, 2017
How I learned not to be ‘that mom’ — while keeping up the good fight for my son with a learning disability
Amy Valentine explains how she cut through "the fog of inaction" at her son's school, using the experience to teach (and learn) about perseverance.
April 21, 2017
A national teacher of the year on her most radical teaching practice: trusting kids to handle their bathroom business
Maybe what looks like “laziness” is really a trained helplessness and passivity borne of so many rules and restrictions against movement of any kind.
April 20, 2017
I’m a teacher, not an activist. Here’s why I’m joining the March for Science this weekend
Marching for science is distinct from the kind of political statements Ohio teacher Sarah Rivera avoids in her classroom. Here's why.
April 20, 2017
Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart — or completely misleading
Joshua Starr asks the real question: What are schools doing to create good reasons for students to attend?
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