Mr. Parello Sensei

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jun 17 2013

A New Direction

On June 1st I was hired to a new job at a bilingual French/English private school as a third grade teacher.  Although I was happy at the charter school where I was working and proud of the work that I did this past school year, the fact that I was only a long term sub…

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May 29 2013

Fail First, Then Get It Correct

I finished up my role as a collaboration teacher at my school today, and gave my final Japanese and French lessons to two different classes.  As a final presentation to the students, I showed them some of the calligraphy that I made while I was studying it in Japan.  I have a few works I…

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May 10 2013

Some Unintended Conclusions from Value Added Data

There has been a lot of debate for the past several years over whether or not to use “value added” data as a metric for evaluating teachers.  Washington D.C. is already making 50% of a teacher’s evaluation dependent on their value added rating.  I thought I’d weigh in on the debate, as I happen to…

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May 05 2013

Class Size in Japan, Korea, and America

I freely admit that I don’t understand how to run a multi billion dollar software company.  I’m still intrigued, therefore, that Bill Gates continues to believe that he is qualified to make education policy. In today’s New York Times, Sara Mosle discusses a plan from Gates, along with Michael Bloomberg and Arne Duncan, that would…

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Apr 29 2013

The Diverse Views of Corps Members and Alums

During my interview for Teach for America in the spring of 2007, the interviewer asked me to explain what I felt was the cause of the achievement gap.  I replied that I thought schools serving primarily low income and minority students were educating children who faced severe challenges in their lives due to poverty, and…

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Apr 26 2013

Reverse Culture Shock

My early days in Japan with the JET Program were full of cultural misunderstandings.  I brought with me a lot of assumptions about how schools should work and how students should learn that simply did not mesh with the Japanese teachers’ views.  I had to unlearn a lot of things and be willing to understand…

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Teachers, like any other profession, should be evaluated and held accountable for their job performance.  I don’t honestly know anyone who doesn’t believe this.  If you listen to many of the ed reformers though, you’d think otherwise.  I found this rather bizarre tweet from a StudentsFirst blogger in my Twitter feed today, retweeted by StudentsFirst…

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Apr 22 2013

Teaching Foreign Language: A Good Cure for Cynicism

This month I’ve gotten the rare chance to spend Sunday evenings without planning or preparation.  After finishing my second long term substituting assignment at my school in March, I become a collaboration teacher and day to day sub wherever I’m needed.  On collaboration days (Tuesday and Thursday) I teach World Languages and Culture to students…

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Apr 19 2013

Adoring Ed Reform Journalists

It’s been an interesting week in education news.  Michelle Rhee is taking heat for her failure to acknowledge a memo regarding cheating in her district, and Ben Chavis’s American Indian Public Charter School had its charter revoked by the Oakland Unified School District because of Chavis’s money embezzlement.  It comes to my mind that so…

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Teach for America is coming to my hometown.  Starting in the 2013-2014 school year, they will be bringing in a small group of about 30 corps members to test the waters and see if they can develop a good working presence in San Diego.  I was initially wary when I learned the news. San Diego…

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