Over the years, I've jotted down various contemplations, reflections, introspections, compulsions, impulsions, conjecture. and extemporanea, as they relate to education and its profession. I like to refer back to them from time to time to remind myself of what I believe, to see how my thinking has evolved, and, very often, to challenge ideas I used to hold dear.

This page is a curation of those thoughts.

MUSING OUT LOUD

"At best, schools teach 1 billionth of a percent of the knowledge in the universe, yet we quibble endlessly over which billionth of a percent we should teach."

- Seymour Papert

We need to get teachers to shift away from teaching curriculum and towards teaching children

- Chris Lehman

Whatever our educational problems in this country, perceived or real, I can assure you that more testing and/or the culture of testing is not the answer. If the dozens of emails to my school account are any indication, the Common Core has mostly merely provided opportunities for companies to prey on teachers'/schools' fears on the newness of it by selling sure fire "strategies" for mastering the new standards.

If you, as a teacher, care more about the subject you're teaching than the subjects you're teaching, there's gonna be a disconnect.

I don't want to teach you. I want to invest in you. If I invest in you, at the end of the day when you get married and have your first kid, you'll text or DM me and say, "Mr. Mo, I just had my first kid!" That's an investment. When you invest in them, they'll do anything in the world for you.

That's what teaching is. This is what teacher-bashers fail to realize teaching is.

My 7th grader's impersonation of his teachers: "Here's a bunch of facts. Tell them back to me next week, and you'll get a good grade."

With how much we are constantly bombarded with "data", "value-added", "achievement" (code for test scores), and "gaps" (measured by tests that don't measure learning), it's no wonder that many of my colleagues are hesitant to actually take a "risk" and try something different/new that might prepare students more for life after school, or, God-forbid, be meaningful to anything in kids' lives.

We should pay teachers more and professional athletes less, because kids don't look up to poor people

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do learn history, get jobs teaching it to people who don't listen.

Every city has a saxophonist who can play higher or faster than anyone around. They are not the artist. The artist reads books, has hobbies, goes to movies, attends concerts, etc...in order to reflect and transform themselves. The same goes for the art of teaching. You truly need to know what greatness feels, smells, tastes, or looks like in order to inspire it in yourself and your students.

You know how jazz musicians are different than teachers? The best ones spend their free time going out to watch their peers at work.

Learning is a verb, and isn't the direct result of having been taught facts.

Don't make the mistake of using grades to teach kids about responsibility, time, management, or compliance. Grades should be about learning.

When people say they want to go paperless in the classroom, are they actually going paperless? I contend, no, because often we're using digital tools to distribute .pdfs instead of standing at the copier, or sharing a Google doc instead of having them turn something in to the basket, or take an online exam instead of making four different versions of a multiple-choice test and running the Scantron form through the machine.

Gary Stager's 3 Purposes of Education:

  1. To democratize access to experience and expertise. If kids could have all the access to this experience and expertise at home, formal education would be unnecessary

  2. To prepare kids to solve the problems that schools haven't even anticipated.

  3. To introduce kids to things and ideas that they didn't even knew they loved yet.