Education Is Bigger Than Politics (A Lesson From My Year In China)

Having been in China just 10 days, it was funny how the detail of teaching English–my vehicle for coming out to China–became lost on me. But it was no accident. I didn’t want to think too much about it, because honestly, I didn’t think too much of it. Tons of others before me had gone abroad to…
Read More

The Truth About School Teachers

I recently filled in for a 3rd grade teacher at a St. Paul, Minnesota school. Her colleague, the other 3rd grade teacher, was a middle-aged woman with greying, thin hair down to her shoulders and business-like demeanor despite being dressed as a farmer in overalls for Halloween week. As soon as I arrived, this woman…
Read More

My Tanzanian Village School (part One)

The following is a description of my first day at my village school along with photographs gathered throughout my time here thus far. *** On Monday morning, January 27, 2014, I woke up in my concrete-wall room at around 7:00. I lifted up the fine mesh mosquito net tucked into my mattress and got up…
Read More

Is Homeschooling Better?

I work for a school district, so it seems odd for me to ask such a question. Then again, one sees the good and bad when on the inside. I’ve written about this before. But even though state schools have their problems, the question this post poses still can’t be asked unless there’s some compelling…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing: Inner City School Pt 2

Part one was about the hoopla; this post is about the nuts and bolts of the student struggles in North Minneapolis. When the 6th and 7th graders I taught this day eventually got down to work (which took some doing–see part one), most did get something done. But for many, it wasn’t much. For every…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing: Inner City School Pt 1

I walked into the class knowing that it would be a little tougher than other places I taught. I based this hunch on the location, and it was confirmed when I arrived and administrators told me the students can be “a little wild”. I was wrong, however, in what this meant exactly. See, when imagining…
Read More

privilege, benefits, freedom, rights, health care, education, cost,

Privilege Vs. Rights: An Important Distinction

When I was in grade school, Mr. Dexter, the bus mechanic, gave a speech to us kids about proper bus safety and how if we didn’t comply, we wouldn’t be allowed the transport. He’d say with authority, “Riding the bus is a privilege, not a right”. Now that I look back on it, I’d bet…
Read More

Adventures In Subbing Pt 2: A Man In A Women’s World

As a substitute teacher you’d expect I get to wear a few different hats and teach students of all ages. Indeed. But at the teaching placement company I work for these hats and age-ranges extend a little further than you might think–further than I thought when I started working for them; further than one school…
Read More

Minnesota Is Being Laughed At

I suppose every state in the U.S. would be guilty of creating laws that ended up biting them. Or perhaps they just don’t enforce them the way Minnesota recently did. Regardless, Minnesota was mocked for interfering with free online education. Why the heck would a state like Minnesota, known for top-5-in-the-nation academics, prevent something so obviously…
Read More

New Plateaus Spotlight: Daystar University, Nairobi, Kenya

New Plateaus is about interesting people, places, and ideas. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to get it all of this in one story. This article is about education, the history of East Africa, and how a Minnesota-connected university is doing their part to develop a continent. I met Pat Mahin last winter when I worked at an Italian…
Read More