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First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our
submission guidelines here
June 15, 2017
I had an anxiety attack in school, and a social worker saved me. What about the students without one?
Right now, somewhere in the Bronx, there is a young girl like me, having her first anxiety attack, a Brooklyn junior writes. Is there a social worker for her?
June 13, 2017
How I went from a restorative justice skeptic to a restorative justice believer
Restorative justice practices are not a means for excusing student misbehavior, a New York City high school teacher writes.
Politics & Policy
May 13, 2017
To close out teacher appreciation week, meet the educators whose voices help shape the education conversation
From designing puzzles to get kids fired up about French to being christened “school mama” by students, teachers go above and beyond to…
May 9, 2017
I’m a black man raised on the mistaken idea that education could keep me safe. Here’s what I teach my students in the age of Jordan Edwards
"It’s a near impossible task to educate black children in a society that constantly interrupts that work with such violence."
May 8, 2017
My neighbors told the New York Times that going to our local school is ‘malpractice.’ We picked it anyway
In the latest How We Got Here story, a New York City mom recounts her family's path to their neighborhood school, which many other middle-class white families spurn.
May 4, 2017
What this teacher learned when her discipline system went awry — for all the right reasons
The author, a teacher at P.S. 11 in Chelsea, shared this story at Teachable Moments, a live storytelling event.
April 26, 2017
How I stopped wishing for ‘seventh-period flu’ and came to love my first year teaching
For Autumn Jones, last period was her “dead fish” class. A student conversation helped turn it around — and a new group helped her realize her limits.
April 25, 2017
How I learned not to be ‘that mom’ — while keeping up the good fight for my son with a learning disability
Amy Valentine explains how she cut through "the fog of inaction" at her son's school, using the experience to teach (and learn) about perseverance.
April 21, 2017
A national teacher of the year on her most radical teaching practice: trusting kids to handle their bathroom business
Maybe what looks like “laziness” is really a trained helplessness and passivity borne of so many rules and restrictions against movement of any kind.
April 20, 2017
I’m a teacher, not an activist. Here’s why I’m joining the March for Science this weekend
Marching for science is distinct from the kind of political statements Ohio teacher Sarah Rivera avoids in her classroom. Here's why.
April 20, 2017
Counting attendance in school ratings could be smart — or completely misleading
Joshua Starr asks the real question: What are schools doing to create good reasons for students to attend?
March 15, 2017
How I navigated New York City’s high school admissions maze in a wheelchair
"Probably 80 percent of public schools schools couldn't work based solely on accessibility."
February 9, 2017
I mentor students demoralized about not having a vote. Here’s their plan for getting civically involved before turning 18
They’re proving that democracy doesn’t begin and end with casting a ballot — but it does depend on taking interest and taking action.
January 20, 2017
It’s time to retire the myth that any counselor can do the job alone — even at a tiny school
The frequent mismatch between need and numbers puts school counselors like me in the position to do a great disservice.
January 19, 2017
I’m an education reformer, and Betsy DeVos is going to kill our coalition. Here’s a game plan.
Our country’s Republican leadership is about to leave behind a technocratic agenda in favor of an ideological one. That really matters.
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