Experiences That Changed Us

January 2020

Adam Saenz’s TED Talk is moving. It’ll touch your heart, so don’t skip it. And for some of the neuroscience behind stories, listen to David Phillips’s TED Talk too. (Thank you so much, Chris Anderson for bringing us this bounty.)

This is our January issue and, though this is just the second, we have a tradition of doing something different with these anniversary issues. This month, we are giving you eleven stories by teachers about experiences that influenced their way of thinking and teaching. And here is some good news: we received sixteen stories, and we like all of them so much that we have decided to make a new feature in the Think Tanks, a monthly column of teacher stories!

Many of the stories here are about classroom experiences and what our contributors learned from them, but many others are on experiences our teachers had as learners themselves, and how their lives were changed as a result.

So, sit back, relax, and read these wonderful stories. With luck, we might get one from you as well.



About This Issue

How Teachers Learn

By: Curtis Kelly

I was doing graduate work in my academic field when a certain fact stopped me cold in my tracks. I was reading about the principle sources of education in the twentieth century and the main one was not at all what I had expected.

They Cheated Again By: Stephen M. Ryan

They’d cheated again. Can you believe it? Homework was just a simple written exercise to reinforce a conversation lesson, and yet, most of the class had cheated. Again.

The Power of Words By: Bruno Jactat

There was this boy in France, whose paternal upbringing was so crushing and humiliating that by his early teens he had lost every ounce of self-esteem and self-respect. 

Learning to Dance By: Skye Playsted

Of all the sweet, heartfelt messages my students had written me on our final day of class together, this one, written by Lila and her phone translation app, really took my breath away.