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Justin Minkel

April 26, 2015

Students matter. Teachers, not so much.


When advocating for policies to better meet students’ needs, teacher leaders can’t afford to bury our lead: the students. We need to explain how the changes we advocate will improve learning outcomes for students, not just working conditions for teachers. If we fail to make that case, we’ll never see the changes our students need.

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Justin Minkel

April 11, 2015

Squished like a grape: Does teacher leadership hurt your teaching?


Of all humanity’s wisdom, most has been spoken in some form by Mr. Miyagi of The Karate Kid. Take the following:

“Walk on left side of road, safe. Walk on right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, get squished just like grape.”

Teacher leaders know the perils of the hybrid path better than anyone. One stumble and you just might manage to alienate colleagues with the left foot, anger administrators with the right. You also might find yourself progressing as a teacher leader while stagnating as a classroom teacher.

Teacher leaders, how do you keep improving as a teacher while developing as a leader? How do you make the time it takes to do both?

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Justin Minkel

March 21, 2015

What It Takes


How do you think the following story ends?

A six-year-old child is sexually assaulted by her stepfather. Her mother is not literate, and her family lives in poverty. She suffers both physical and psychological problems from the abuse she endured. She experiences a psychotic episode in third grade and is sent to a facility an hour’s drive from her town.

Four years later, here is the same girl:

She is confident and happy. She is considering a career as a police officer, though her mom thinks she should become a nurse, and her teacher thinks she should be a doctor. She plans to go to college.

How did this child get from there to here? How did she write a new story for her life?

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