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Teacher Stories

Educators Share Experiences and Innovations

Tales of a Beginning Teacher Tales of a Beginning Teacher
by Brendan Clarke
Brendan Clarke reflects on his first day of teaching, and why he left the classroom to rebuild our connection with the natural world.
Horses as Healers Horses as Healers
by Lorna Shepardson
What do you do with a teenager who’s angry, depressed, disconnected, or all of the above? Lorna Shepardson knows a magical gift horses possess that can help bring young people from the depths of darkness to a glimmer of self-confidence. This is Lorna’s story.
Get Your Skysight On!: How to Change the Way We Perceive the World Get Your Skysight On!: How to Change the Way We Perceive the World
by Daniel Dancer
Oregon artist and teacher Daniel Dancer helps young people understand how animals, Earth, and humans are connected. By being part of a human painting, students are instilled with the power to change the world and protect endangered species.
Getting Inside the Heads of Students With Asperger Syndrome Getting Inside the Heads of Students With Asperger Syndrome
by Dan Coulter
How do you help a student with Asperger Syndrome discover his strengths and thrive in the classroom? Dan Coulter helps teachers understand what goes on inside the head of a student with Asperger Syndrome.
Want Successful Students? Meet the Parents Want Successful Students? Meet the Parents
by Girlie Forman
Girlie Forman shares her personal experience, her sense of humor, and food to connect with her high school students—and their families.
Powerful Learning Grows in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward Powerful Learning Grows in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward
by David Ferris
Our School at Blair Grocery meets crises with open eyes, humble hearts, and social entrepreneurship.
Teens Care for Their Local River, Their Way Teens Care for Their Local River, Their Way
by Peter Donaldson
How do you get teens to care for their local watershed? Peter Donaldson’s carrot is the opportunity to produce smart, hip videos and be the on-air expert.
¡Hola! The Future Is Now ¡Hola! The Future Is Now
by Michelle Contreras
First grade teacher Michelle Contreras uses two-way Spanish immersion and touch therapy to connect with her students.
Why Race Has Everything To Do With Who and How I Teach Why Race Has Everything To Do With Who and How I Teach
by Walter Davis
At Rising S.T.A.R.S. Male Academy in urban Atlanta, Walter Davis uses "real talk" and literature to teach middle school boys of color how to be excellent students and emerge as successful young men.
Growing Good People Through Work, Study, and Community Growing Good People Through Work, Study, and Community
by Margo Flood
Organic gardens, eco-friendly dorms, and vegetarian eateries are not all that make up Warren Wilson College—an environmentally conscious work college in the rolling hills of Ashville, North Carolina. Rather, as Margo Flood, director of the Environmental Leadership Center puts it, this campus is all about the liberal arts. Learn how Warren Wilson students and teachers strive for a complete education through work, study, and community.
Discovering the Beauty of Teenagers Discovering the Beauty of Teenagers
by John Hasyn
We tend to be afraid of those who are different from us. For John Hasyn, it was teenagers. Despite his feelings of intimidation, the Canadian-based photographer chose to work full-on with Inuit youth in Nunavut. What he discovered changed his perspective forever.
Starting with Place: Molokai Students Re-Define their Education Starting with Place: Molokai Students Re-Define their Education
by Vicki Newberry
Head of School and teacher Vicki Newberry brought a place-based curriculum to her independent middle school in Molokai, Hawaii. Now Aka`ula School students thrive as they research and create positive solutions for environmental issues affecting their own community.
Anthropology 101: How to Change the World Anthropology 101: How to Change the World
by Tom Murphy
Professor Tom Murphy wanted his students to reconnect with nature. Now, they work beside farmers, fishermen, wastewater technicians, environmental groups, and Native American leaders through an award-winning service learning program.
Reconnecting Schools to Real Food Reconnecting Schools to Real Food
by Chef Tom French
Chef Tom, director of the Experience Food Project, has a broad vision of a new school food system that provides students with healthy food, reconnects them with the source of their meals, and builds bridges between the classroom and the kitchen. Here is Tom’s story.
If You Give a Kid a Shovel If You Give a Kid a Shovel
by Joe Gillespie
Joe Gillespie from Crescent City, California, started his first school garden in 1993 with 50 raised beds. Today, he and his middle school students are growing vegetables year-round, monitoring wind turbines, and experiencing the incredible joy of connecting with each other and the land.
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