Hi I’m Dave Stuart Jr., full-time teacher at Cedar Springs High School and founder of Teaching the Core, and if you’ve ever asked yourself:
- Which parts of the Common Core should I focus on?
- Are there any “Common Core Aligned” materials that aren’t garbage?
- How can I increase the chances that my students, both low and high, will dominate life?
- How do I teach skills while not sacrificing content?
- Are there any teachers out there with the same attitude as me?
Or if you are just tired of all the freaking out happening in education right now…
…You’re in the right place.
Here’s how Teaching the Core Helps You Avoid Insanity
It’s no secret that there’s a dearth of practical how-to stuff out there written for real teachers by real teachers. This blog aims to fill a small part of that dearth. (Yes, I just used dearth like that, and no, I’m not sure it was okay.)
But don’t just take my word for it — listen to these guys.
Dave Stuart stands between us and the Common Core standards like an Eagle Scout with all the badges who has prepared for this opportunity to help educators not only survive but thrive in the era of the Common Core. . . . As one who also teaches and writes about the Common Core, I find substantial encouragement and comfort in Dave’s practical and optimistic approach toward the standards, for he says, in short, let us accept them as an opportunity to improve our teaching, an invitation to learn.
–Jim Burke, teacher and author of more than 20 books, including The Common Core Companion: What They Say, What They Mean, and How to Teach Them
–Gerald Graff, Professor of English and Education, University of Illinois at Chicago; 2008 President, Modern Language Association of America; author of They Say / I Say
Here’s the deal:
I got into teaching because I wanted to impact students. The problem is, years in the classroom have taught me that I can’t be the guy with the fancy dog-and-pony-show lessons. I’m just not that guy.
But I can be the guy who gets rid of the fluff and goes big on high-impact literacy practices.
So that’s what I do here: I take a non-freaked out approach to all things literacy. I share what actually works and fails in my history and English classes, and what actually works in the classes of my awesome math and science colleagues. A lot of what I talk about pertains to the Common Core, but that’s only because there are parts of the Common Core that make a boatload of sense.
If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to subscribe to blog updates — it’s free.
All that does is send new articles I write straight to your inbox.
A Movement of Teachers Who Refuse to Freak Out
The crazy thing I’ve discovered since starting Teaching the Core in May 2012 is that, in just about every school in the nation, there are a cadre of teachers who simply refuse to get crazy worked up about edu-change.
I mean, yeah, it’s not like we go out looking for change, but we also aren’t going to waste our lives worrying about it.
What we do is simple: we constantly pursue the timeless practices that will promote the long-term flourishing of our students.
We’re not experts, by any means; we’re just aggressively seeking to use every minute in our classrooms as profitably as possible. Just as often as I share a decent idea on Teaching the Core, I get great ideas from readers. Sometimes they share through Twitter, other times through Facebook, and most often through the comment sections on individual blog posts.
But regardless of how they do it, I am constantly amazed at the wherewithal we have when we decide to resist the isolation inherent in teaching, instead putting our heads together to figure out what works best in our classrooms.
The best way to join this growing movement of over 5,000 subscribers is to… well, subscribe, by signing up for the email list below:
About Dave Stuart Jr.
When I founded Teaching the Core, I didn’t think I was founding anything — I was just trying to force myself to learn the Common Core.
Pathetic, right? But for the record, standards usually aren’t my thing.
But do you know what has been my thing? Teaching — ever since I stopped forcing myself to want to be a doctor as an awkward college freshman. When I first started my teaching career, in Baltimore, my classes were labeled “accelerated” because most of my students were behind grade level, and we ended up ditching the basals and reading Anne Frank, Romeo and Juliet, and The Outsiders. This hard work showed me the value of having expectations in a “family and team” classroom environment, and it also led to my students exceeding the high-stakes scores they were expected to get. I wish I could say this work is also what led to my Rookie of the Year award in a district of over 7,000 teachers, but that was just because I had some generous, kind colleagues who recommended me for it. (Thanks, guys.)
Since moving back to Michigan, I’ve been working in a freshmen academy since I started full-time in 2010. According to the numbers, our academy is made up of a larger than usual amount of socioeconomically “at-risk” freshmen, and yet our students consistently inspire us to raise expectations for them. Each year, we push our students to read highly complex novels, plays, and books as a whole class and on a self-chosen basis, along with over 70 articles and source documents. Our kids write like crazy, they argue like crazy, and they develop the habits of grit, self-control, and life domination. I’m not saying this makes us special — there are a lot of hardworking classrooms in our district and in the nation — but I am saying it’s a privilege to teach the kids I teach and see them take up the invitation to “do hard things.”
I say none of these things to brag because in every teaching situation I’ve been in, great results have come from huge team efforts, and, just like in your classroom, perhaps, there’s always massive room for improvement. And yet I, like you, am committed to figuring out what works best and doing a heckuva lot of it.
I hope you’ll join me. All you have to do is enter your email below and click “sign me up!”