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In the Middle of Teaching and Leading

José Luis Vilson

July 8, 2014

A Few Reactions To The NEA Empowered Educator Day 2014

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What does it mean to be a teacher leader, and what does it mean to be empowered?

These were two of my inquiries as I headed to Denver, CO, for the National Education Association Empowered Educators Day, co-sponsored by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and the General Electric Foundation. I was very familiar with the work of all folks involved, and, even though this was the first event of its kind for NEA, I still saw this as a good first step to having this discussion about teacher leadership and all its forms.

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José Luis Vilson

June 12, 2014

The Uncertainty of Success With Tests

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Yesterday, after a grueling two periods with my more rambunctious class, the after-lunch crowd, I walked down to the auditorium, looked at one of my colleagues and said, "Just a couple more days left, right?" We got the news from our principal: the ELA and math pass / fail marks for the state tests had come out, and our percentage of students who met promotional criteria went up.  I also found out that, based on NYC promotional criteria, I only have three students who didn't meet promotional criteria, which means that the rest of my students absolutely did.

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José Luis Vilson

May 22, 2014

Certifiably Certifiable (On Professionalism and Certificates)

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José Luis Vilson

April 13, 2014

Why Don't Those Teachers Own Their Profession Already?

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Hypothetically speaking, let's say a subset of all teachers decided to go against their district's wishes, teaching their curriculum according to a mix of research and expertise, but masking it under the name of the latest district buzzword. Would you blame them for not outright fighting against their administration's wishes or congratulate them for "owning" their profession?

Of course, that's a trick question because it largely depends on your lens.

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José Luis Vilson

February 19, 2014

Teacherpreneurism For You

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Something to consider: over the last few years, a select group of folks have taken on the idea of "teacherpreneurship." Quietly but surely, they're discussing education for our kids in places where we aren't always welcome. They're re-shaping the environments around them and making their impressions felt in their school districts. Teacherpreneurism was never the "evil idea" a few critics made it out to be, but an idea set in making sure teachers had control of their profession. Having said that, here's the application. Please. Have at it.

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José Luis Vilson

January 30, 2014

Who Watches The Watchtower? (On Teacher Leadership in NYC)

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Last week, I had the honor of speaking to superintendents and network leaders of NYC schools as part of an NYC Department of Education expert series. They asked Barnett Berry and Ann Byrd to lead a workshop on teacher leadership around the themes of the book Teacherpreneurs. As one of the teachers in the book, I had a chance to expound on the themes of the book, not as a puppet for any entity, but as a real teacher working in the schools.

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José Luis Vilson

December 24, 2013

Do You See Yourself As The Leader? [The Takeover: Part 1]

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How often did you ever sit in a district-wide meeting and think, "You know, if I was up there, I would probably do a better job than this?"

The PowerPoint presentations with the tiny lettering and chop shop imagery slide through in a soporific rhythm, as if you haven't heard it all before. Common Core this, teacher evaluation that, SMART goals and the other. You'll grab your bagel and orange juice and you'll jot down a few things. When your principal asks you how it went, you'll say "Good."

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