Schools Should Be More Like Trader Joe’s

Prior to becoming a special education teacher in the Bronx through NYC Teaching Fellows, I was a novitiate store manager at a Trader Joe’s in Queens. I was only there 10 months before I moved on to the classroom, but I learned a lot about warm service to others, hard work, and leadership by example that I continue to apply in my work each day with children and their families.


Not Your Parents’ Education

When I was in high school, the idea of personalized learning or a personalized curriculum seemed laughable. My job position and my school definitely hadn’t been invented or even thought of yet! However, throughout human history, learning used to be highly personal through educational concepts such as oral histories and apprenticeships. In fact, it was


The Potential to Lead

Teachers strive to foster leadership and initiative in their students, as they recognize the future workplace will require a different set of skills. Our students will need to collaborate, to problem solve, to compromise, to craft conversations and articulate their thinking in a manner that persuades others to follow. There are those students who naturally lead and those who willingly follow. Yet our goal is the same. Teach to lead, and lead to inspire.


Is Kindergarten Really Kindergarten?

Article after article has been written regarding the conflict in kindergarten education. Is “too much, too soon” helpful? harmful? inappropriate? beneficial? or all of the above? These questions have been popping up in educational journals, research articles, opinion pieces, and parent magazines. Why the controversy? Have you visited a kindergarten class recently? Kindergarten education has changed so much over the past ten years, you would barely recognize a kindergarten classroom as being kindergarten.


The Best Way to Keep Students and Teachers Safe

“April is the cruelest month…” When TS Eliot wrote that first line of “The Wasteland” almost 100 years ago, could he have known what significance it would have to American survivors of gun violence and domestic terrorism today? What is it about April that made the disaffected want to bomb a federal building and a marathon, or to kill classmates and teachers in Virginia and Colorado? As the earth awakens with flowers and green grass, why does violence awaken in some evil hearts?


Let’s Be Honest

Freeda Pirillis- Educators possess a moral authority that exemplifies the values we strive to teach our children, our students, and even the adults around us: the value of being honest. We teach Character Education lessons on communicating your feelings when another person has called you a name, identify mentor texts that demonstrate how children can stand up for themselves when they are being bullied by a peer, and engage our students in role playing activities to build their self-esteem.