Newsletter #160: Can Good Teaching Be Taught?

Hi Readers! I was a teacher for a long time, and have been an instructional coach for a long time, but never have I led a school. This week’s lead article — about how a principal tries to improve teaching at her school in Atlanta — gave me empathy for school leaders and the challenges they face. If you care about education, please take the time to read it.

HHH #7 was strong and robust! (At least Shannon and Laurenthought so.) We chatted about the articles, attendees got Highlighter folders, Jim won the grand prize, and I announced a special event coming soon. (The big reveal is next Thursday.) Mark your calendars: HHH #8 is Dec. 6!

Can Good Teaching Be Taught?

This article was made for me. Sara Mosle, who knows education, follows a dedicated principal’s quest to improve instruction at an elementary school in Atlanta. It’s essential — and not easy. How do you give teachers the feedback they need to get better, while supporting them not to quit in this overworked, underpaid, under-respected profession? (28 min)

What do you think? What should Principal Gunner do? Share your thoughts by clicking on the speech bubble below or by hitting R for reply.

+ Bonus: Read this piece with my 30 highlights and annotations!

Not Quite Not White

This is an outstanding essay about immigration, race, and the effect that social and government labels have on people of color. Sharmila Sen grew up in Calcutta and understood distinctions between castes and religions, between the educated and the illiterate. But Ms. Sen had no sense of racial categories until she arrived in the United States when she was 12. (28 min)

Social Media, Social Life: What Teenagers Think

While research suggests that smart phones and social media are destroying the lives of teenagers, making them more lonely and neurotic, young people think otherwise, according to this major study by Common Sense Media. But among young people with low social-emotional well-being (i.e., those who lack confidence, have low self-esteem, or are depressed), social media just makes things worse. Skip to page 8, where the charts and graphs begin. (15 min)

Plastic Bags: American Beauties

Two years have passed since California became the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. But we all secretly love plastic bags, right? (Ziplocs are my personal favorite.) This photo essay explains the meteoric rise of polyethylene bags since their debut in grocery stores in 1979 — and why we can’t quit them just yet. (12 min)

Reader HighlightsLast week’s lead article — featuring teachers who got rich via Instagram and Teachers Pay Teachers — sparked strong reaction. Reader Erin @teacher_beasts wrote:

I consider myself the queen of the side gig. I work three jobs in addition to being a classroom teacher. However, I’m totally opposed to Teachers Pay Teachers because teachers shouldn’t have to pay teachers. Teachers shouldn’t have to work additional jobs, but some of those additional jobs are what keep me invigorated in the teaching profession.

What do you think? Leave me a note about this article or one from this week. Also, for more examples of what teachers do to scrape by, click here and here.

Thank you for reading this week’s issue of The Highlighter! Please tell me what you thought by using the thumbs below. If you value this newsletter, forward this issue (or all issues) to a friend. I would really appreciate it. On the other hand, if there’s just too much to read, and this newsletter isn’t at the top of your list, I understand, please unsubscribe. I’ll see you back here next Thursday at 9:10 am. Have a great week!