The typing habits of Big Fabes.

Writing and reporting used to pay my bills.
Teaching is my new passion.
Trying to make education better in increments.
My diet soda consumption is far too high.
Sometimes, I write things here.
Solidarity forever.

Jul 25

Realities of SY 11-12.

In the coming school year, I will teach a self-contained elementary class for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I will be expected to teach curriculum across all subjects at four different grade levels.

The class will be twice as big as when I started two years ago. In the same time, the special education support staff has been cut by 33 percent.

Many of my students will take a new state assessment that is more difficult and allows for fewer accommodations than before. Additionally, less than a month before the school year starts, I still have not seen a sample test or received any training on it. And, my student’s scores on this test will count for 50 percent of my annual evaluation.

Class sizes all over my school will be larger. There will be fewer ancillary classes. I will take on an additional role as department chair to help make sure our special education students get the support they need. As of now, however, there is no speech pathologist or educational diagnostician assigned to our campus for this year. There has never been a counselor assigned to the campus since I’ve been there.

Despite all of this, I intend to succeed for my students this year. They will learn, make improvement and grow. They will have opportunities to rejoin general education classes. I’m not leaving any child behind.

But, if education is in such a crisis now, why does it seem “the system” is throwing up as many roadblocks as possible to tamp down good and great teachers? Why, if education is so important, is everything seemingly aimed at making it harder, not easier, to teach our most at-risk youth?


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Jul 22
Let’s call this a requiem for a retail friend.
Oh, Borders, I’ll remember you.
I remember buying an anthology of literary journalism from your store in Evanston as a freshman at the renowned Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I greedily read the writings of Calvin Trillin, Susan Orlean, Tracy Kidder and others. I was convinced I would follow in those paths, creating amazing, long-form narrative non-fiction that helped explain the world to my readers. 
As a senior in college, I picked up a copy of John Gardner’s “The Art of Fiction” from one of your establishments in Cincinnati while I was working an intern for a writing magazine. I was still going to be a writer, but, now, I was going to write a great American novel, possibly about the threat of the corporate American to the identity of the individual. I never even finished reading the book. It turns out writing, especially fiction, requires a lot of discipline.
Shortly after starting my first newspaper job in Aurora, I picked up a copy of “The Golden Bough” by Sir James George Frazer. See, I had started to study socio-cultural anthropology during my final two years of college. I was convinced I could still read the classics of the field while working as a journalist. Maybe I’d chuck it all to go back to graduate school to really study the field. I was wrong. Instead, video games, the Internet and bars were far more attractive than 100-year-old theories on the meaning of culture.
A few years later, I was living in the Milwaukee ‘burbs and I picked up a copy of “The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn. Then I was freelancing as a preps writer while working for a magazine publishing house. Maybe I could get back into newspapers as a sports reporter. I was still young enough to start over and, someday, cover the NCAA tourney or the Super Bowl. Still haven’t read that book.
Finally, in Houston, I picked up a copy of what are considered the canonical texts of Tai Chi. I had a job with stable hours. I had just finished an introductory Tai Chi class. I was convinced that I’d get my mind and body in harmony. This book, I actually read, but I haven’t been to a Tai Chi class in four or five months.
So, Borders, goodbye. I can chart the things I’ve always sort of wanted to do through what I purchased inside of your amazing stores. Sure, none of those worked out as I imagined. I’m OK with that. I had fun vicariously living potential dreams through your texts. And, even though you’re shutting your doors forever, I’m pretty good with how things have turned out for me.

Let’s call this a requiem for a retail friend.

Oh, Borders, I’ll remember you.

I remember buying an anthology of literary journalism from your store in Evanston as a freshman at the renowned Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. I greedily read the writings of Calvin Trillin, Susan Orlean, Tracy Kidder and others. I was convinced I would follow in those paths, creating amazing, long-form narrative non-fiction that helped explain the world to my readers. 

As a senior in college, I picked up a copy of John Gardner’s “The Art of Fiction” from one of your establishments in Cincinnati while I was working an intern for a writing magazine. I was still going to be a writer, but, now, I was going to write a great American novel, possibly about the threat of the corporate American to the identity of the individual. I never even finished reading the book. It turns out writing, especially fiction, requires a lot of discipline.

Shortly after starting my first newspaper job in Aurora, I picked up a copy of “The Golden Bough” by Sir James George Frazer. See, I had started to study socio-cultural anthropology during my final two years of college. I was convinced I could still read the classics of the field while working as a journalist. Maybe I’d chuck it all to go back to graduate school to really study the field. I was wrong. Instead, video games, the Internet and bars were far more attractive than 100-year-old theories on the meaning of culture.

A few years later, I was living in the Milwaukee ‘burbs and I picked up a copy of “The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn. Then I was freelancing as a preps writer while working for a magazine publishing house. Maybe I could get back into newspapers as a sports reporter. I was still young enough to start over and, someday, cover the NCAA tourney or the Super Bowl. Still haven’t read that book.

Finally, in Houston, I picked up a copy of what are considered the canonical texts of Tai Chi. I had a job with stable hours. I had just finished an introductory Tai Chi class. I was convinced that I’d get my mind and body in harmony. This book, I actually read, but I haven’t been to a Tai Chi class in four or five months.

So, Borders, goodbye. I can chart the things I’ve always sort of wanted to do through what I purchased inside of your amazing stores. Sure, none of those worked out as I imagined. I’m OK with that. I had fun vicariously living potential dreams through your texts. And, even though you’re shutting your doors forever, I’m pretty good with how things have turned out for me.


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Jul 11

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Jul 9

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Jul 7

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Jul 2

Pure joy.

There are few better examples of pure joy in the human experience than a 3-year-old playing in a swimming pool.

I had the chance to experience this joy vicariously when some friends brought their kid over to our apartment pool today. He could have stayed in the pool, jumping from the side, playing in a tube and twirling around, for hours.


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Jul 1

Daniel Goleman on the awesome benefits of scaled-up social-emotional learning programs. This is what, I believe, is missing from serious educational reform discussions.


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Jun 29

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