Bronx Classroom Tales
Phil Tabernacle

A 3rd year HS English teacher in the S. Bronx and NYC Teaching Fellows alum, Phil is all about honesty, esp. when it comes to the state of education. To protect his school's privacy and keep his job, all names have been changed.  

This year, my school will graduate our very first senior class. This momentous occasion is provoking conflicting emotions in the staff, from extreme joy and pride to extreme stress and frustration....
  To pitch or not to pitch... that is the question?   When I moved into my classroom, I was forced to answer this difficult question. My dilemma began with a great triumph in New York City...
For years I’ve heard administrators tell me that I’m working too hard. They aren’t referring to my coming in early, staying late, or aggressively calling shotgun on committee...
As part of an independent reading unit at our school, we have explicitly instructed students to judge books by their covers. In fact, looking at the front and then reading the back cover are...
The Bill Gates money runs out this year. I don’t know if this fact as begun to hit the school yet but it’s hitting me.    Small schools around the country get sponsored by a...
Just when I thought I’d orchestrated a near-perfect first day of classes for all the students and teachers at my school, in walks Mr. Bowen…   Yesterday on the first day of school,...
It’s that time of year again. For the past month my school’s Next Generation Recruitment Committee has been meeting to offer New York City’s best and brightest teachers a...
My assistant principal has already reminded me three times this year that a bulletin board is “the window into your classroom.” Incredibly, it is through this corkboard window, not the...
Data squad pumps up passing rates using the power of pie charts.   I’ve been recruited to join my school’s Data Inquiry Team, a NYC requirement for each public school. The purpose of the team is...
This week, I had to cover first period four days in a row for missing teachers.  New York City has tool called sub-central which assigns substitute teachers to absent classrooms, however...


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