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…
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I’m Searching For Someone To Come Teach In Tanzania: Know Anyone?

As many of you know, I come home to Minnesota in August–August 2nd to be exact. What many of you probably hadn’t thought is that once I leave, there’ll be a void (opportunity) here at the school. Finally, even fewer of you have likely given serious thought to having yourself (or someone you know) making a…
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Flat Stanley In Tanzania

A month after I got to Africa, I received my first letter from home. It was from my seven-year-old nephew, Robert. He wrote in large, thick penciled letters asking how I was and then describing a project his class was doing. “My class read a book about ‘Flat Stanley,’” he wrote. Flat Stanley took many…
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Journey To My Village School

This is part three is a series about my current travels and project in East Africa. *** Our peaceful paved path ended with the interruption of bumps and rattles from the onset of the dirt road. Meadows were replaced by crops, and the people in the city (poorer than what I was used to, but…
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The Donner Party

Did you learn this story in your American History class? My job as a substitute in Minneapolis puts me in all sorts of places to see and learn about the varied conditions within which the youth of Minneapolis grow up and learn. Once in a blue moon, though, I’ll also receive some education on top…
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Traveling, Teaching, And Helping A School In East Africa

I’m helping a school in Tanzania get computers for their students. I plan to travel there this winter and “take you with me.” Two summers ago I came back to Minnesota from teaching in China for a year. While there, I started writing here on Area Voices. Perhaps you read some of these pieces about…
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Adventures In Subbing: The Achievement Gap

I sat on a tiny chair while the 22 Kindergarteners I was assisting this day sat cross-legged on the large, plush map-of-the-world rug in the corner of their room. Their teacher sat before them in her rocking chair going over the sounds each letter of the alphabet makes. It was cute to watch, albeit quite normal.…
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Adventures In Subbing Pt 1: From The Mouths Of Babes

Because I’m yet to make millions from my blog, I decided to start working as a substitute teaching assistant (TA). Boy, do kids say the darnedest things. It’s a pretty common thing these days for teachers of younger students to have a helper in their classrooms, and the beauty of being a substitute TA is…
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