Posts tagged "education"
Ghost Lives

Ghost Lives

Mira!” Erika wagged a slim forefinger toward vendors, gawkers, and ice cream-smeared toddlers moving through the city of Oaxaca’s central plaza as she turned to face me. “You think you’re seeing people but they’re not people, they’re ghosts!”

Erika had taught high school for nearly thirty years and was a member of the state teachers’ union. She had recently participated in a strike for better salaries and working conditions—a strike that the government had crushed just months earlier. “Ghosts,” she repeated with a sigh. “Oaxaca exists in the past. Maybe all of Mexico does.”

It was early 2007. I had come to Oaxaca the year before as a freelance journalist to investigate the violent standoff between the striking teachers and the government. The state of Oaxaca’s governor, Ulisés Ruiz, had ordered state and municipal police to break up an encampment of striking teachers in the center of the city. The police had done so forcefully, with tear gas and clubs. The teachers had fought back, commandeering city buses to use like tanks against the startled police.

Failing Grades

Failing Grades

I was torn about failing a fifth-grader. In a poor, predominantly black school, there were plenty of tests but few right answers.

Taught, Post-Taliban: A Review of What Tomorrow Brings

Taught, Post-Taliban: A Review of What Tomorrow Brings

What Tomorrow Brings is an intimate portrait of a girls’ school in rural Afghanistan and the challenges its students face in trying to get an education.

Bored to tears

A few weeks ago I did a demonstration for my chemistry classes. They had begged me for days to do this particular experiment. So, one Monday morning, we assembled outside on the grass...



Teenage monsters

The first thing people say after I tell them that I am a high school teacher is “How do you do it?” And what they mean is, “Are you crazy? Don’t teenagers scare you?” I find that almost every adult I encounter has this fear of teenagers...



Child’s play

What Iraq looks like in the eyes of a third grader.