The sadness of a virtual seder


In the early 90s, the Dalai Lama invited a delegation of rabbis from various denominations and other Jewish intellectuals to visit him in India. He and his followers had been driven from Tibet into exile by the Chinese Communist government and were struggling with questions of how a people can survive being uprooted from their homeland. This was a subject that Jews knew something about; they had...

Heroes All: teachers are frontline workers too


               I was brought to tears a few minutes ago watching a video that a friend posted on Facebook. The entire faculty at his school had  sent to the entire student body photos of themselves sheltering at home while they tried to maintain some continuity of instruction and community they had so painstakingly...

Home school: introducing a whole new meaning


Note: Ayanna (not her real name) has been part of my life for more than 20 years, ever since she entered my seventh grade classroom. She’s now a neighbor and friend. We get together for lunch regularly. She has given me permission to share her story to illustrate the central role a caring school and caring teachers can play in students’ lives, particularly in times of crisis. I am...

Getting real in the age of corona


Like so many Americans, I watched the images of the abandoned streets of Wu Han as if they were as relevant to me as photos of astronauts on the surface of the moon. The stories of people quarantined in their homes, unable to travel, worried about their dwindling supplies of toilet paper, resigned to watch the death toll rise from the Coronavirus were unsettling, but still remote...

Teacher Movies


One of my favorite moments in the cycle of our lives in the Urban Teacher Education Program at the University of Chicago came during orientation week when we devoted an afternoon to introducing our students to a series of clips from a variety of teacher movies – domestic and foreign, documentary and fiction. The idea was to generate a conversation about how the media portrays teachers and how...

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