Classroom 325 Learning & Leading in a Bronx High School By Julie Nariman

  • School is home
    by Julie Nariman on March 15, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    It has been a surprisingly rich week for me to work in a public high school.  I saw my staff’s dedication in a new light, and I saw what school means to kids with the very real possibility of schools being closed. Let me say upfront that this is not a piece for or against … Continue reading School is home

  • All figured out
    by Julie Nariman on February 28, 2020 at 11:02 am

    When I was a first-year teacher, I thought my second year of teaching would be unimaginably easy.  By year two, I reckoned, I’d have it all figured out: a year’s worth of lesson plans and perfect systems for grading and classroom management.  As a result, I’d have all kinds of free time on the weekend. … Continue reading All figured out

  • Honking towards graduation
    by Julie Nariman on February 1, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    Zamir* was a 12th grade student, originally from Albania.  He had come to New York with his older sister when he was in the 10th grade, and hadn’t seen his parents for almost 3 years.  His sister did her best to support him, but didn’t seem prepared to manage a teenage boy.  She also had … Continue reading Honking towards graduation

  • “5, 4, 3, 2, 1”
    by Julie Nariman on January 6, 2020 at 11:24 am

    In most high schools, something very dramatic happens every 45 to 60 minutes: students transition from one class to another.  A school that seems peaceful and quiet while everyone is in class, suddenly erupts as hundreds of teenagers are in the hallway. When my school first opened in 2011 with 90 students and 4 classrooms, … Continue reading “5, 4, 3, 2, 1”

  • Why I love 9th graders
    by Julie Nariman on November 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    I love 9th graders; this week, I experienced again why. Periodically, I visit every classroom to deliver a quick “check inâ€� or important message.  My visits can be to remind students of an expectation (“Let’s keep our cafeteria cleanâ€�), say “Thank youâ€� for an exemplary behavior, or reinforce a value we’re teaching, like persevering through … Continue reading Why I love 9th graders

  • We don’t call parents to complain
    by Julie Nariman on October 11, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Every year, there seems to be a class that gets a bad rap-“that class,” which teachers say is tough to teach. Recently a few teachers met with me about this year’s “tough class.â€� The teacher’s solution: they wanted to invite the students’ parents into the classrooms to witness how the students were behaving. I was … Continue reading We don’t call parents to complain

  • 83 and Entropy
    by Julie Nariman on September 20, 2019 at 10:42 am

    This past August, we celebrated our school’s highest graduation rate ever: 83%.  For us, this was a triumph; the highest percentage before this point had been 74%.  Other things looked good at the end of the year, too: our 9th graders had done well on their exams, attendance increased, and suspensions went down. This school … Continue reading 83 and Entropy

  • “I no longer want to be a teacher”
    by Julie Nariman on August 16, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I was sure Sophia* was going to become a teacher. Sophia was a 12th grader who had shown a passion for teaching.   Last summer, she tutored a group of classmates in history and did a great job.  After the experience, Sophia told me she wanted to become a math teacher.  I told her to reach … Continue reading “I no longer want to be a teacher”

  • Choosing summer school
    by Julie Nariman on August 2, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I used to tell students, “Don’t plan on summer school.â€� I didn’t want kids to feel complacent during the year and figure, “Oh, well, I’ll just go to summer school if I don’t pass.â€� To create a sense of urgency, and scarcity, I’d say things like, “We might not be able to give you this … Continue reading Choosing summer school

  • Being the adult
    by Julie Nariman on July 19, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    As I’m hiring for the next school year, I’m starting to see a key teacher quality I hadn’t recognized before: the ability to be an adult around teenagers. This may sound obvious.  What I mean is that the teacher knows that they are the adult, and that the student is a kid who may not yet … Continue reading Being the adult

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