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Teaching Profession Blog

Teaching While Leading

Phylis Hoffman, a 2nd grade teacher at Harry Bridges K-8 Span School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, is in her 24th year of teaching. She is National Board-certified, a part of numerous leadership teams in her school, and a member of Educators 4 Excellence. (Teaching While Leading ceased publishing in October 2015.)

Teaching Profession Opinion Mr. Broad, Charters Aren't the Only Answer for LAUSD
If I were Eli Broad, I would go into those schools and say to those teachers, "Let's work together to create a school that you would be proud to teach at and that students would love to attend."
Phylis Hoffman, October 6, 2015
3 min read
School Choice & Charters Opinion Massive Charter School Expansion in Los Angeles
Right now UTLA has almost declared "war" on Eli Broad and I can't say that I blame them. Eli Broad and all the other philanthropists would do well to remember the origins of charter schools - to put teachers in charge of running schools.
Phylis Hoffman, September 21, 2015
3 min read
Professional Development Opinion Ideas for Tackling the Teacher Shortage
A mid-western farmer's daughter raised me, and she had a proverb for everything. But my personal favorite, and one that she repeated to me time and time again when I became a teacher is, "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar." In other words we all respond better to praise than we do criticism. I think the same thing can be said when looking at a looming teacher shortage.
Phylis Hoffman, September 7, 2015
3 min read
School & District Management Opinion Great School Culture: It Starts With the Principal
"I don't talk about my school much to my friends who work elsewhere in the district because it frustrates them. They want what I have, a great environment. Schools like mine can happen anywhere if principals begin to accept the huge role they play in setting the tone for a great culture."
Phylis Hoffman, August 23, 2015
3 min read
International Opinion Another Argument for Acting Like Finland
Perhaps if we were to give teachers the training and the autonomy like Finnish teachers get, we would see less of a need for standardized testing and more authentic assessment happening.
Phylis Hoffman, August 4, 2015
3 min read
Reading & Literacy Opinion Conferring: My Goal for 2015/16 School Year
However, with only eighteen days left to my summer vacation does mean I need to start preparing. My goals for the 2015/16 school year are: 1. Conferring with students as much as possible; 2. Diving into cognitively guided instruction for math; and 3. Have the next week's planning and prep work done when I leave school on Friday afternoon.
Phylis Hoffman, July 22, 2015
3 min read
Teaching Profession Opinion Death, Taxes, and Union Dues: We All Have to Pay Our Due
If a state chooses to have public employees represented through a collective bargaining process doesn't this automatically justify the necessity for public employee unions in the interest of the public good.
Phylis Hoffman, July 14, 2015
2 min read
Teaching Profession Opinion Reason #3 Why CTA Needs to Reimagine Tenure NOW
Before I move on to reason number three for why the California's Teacher Association (CTA) needs to reimagine tenure now, let me recap reasons number one and two. Reason number one is to restore faith in our public school system. Reason number two is because we need to ensure that our most vulnerable students are with our best teachers. Reason number three: Teachers want it.
Phylis Hoffman, June 29, 2015
2 min read
Teaching Profession Opinion Reason #2 Why CTA Should Reimagine Permanent Status Now
The appeal to the Vergara case will be heard very soon. I don't claim to be psychic so I am making a well educated guess here when I say I think the appellate court will remand the decision for further study. This leads me to reason #2 why the California Teachers Association (CTA) should reimagine tenure now: The most vulnerable students need the best teachers.
Phylis Hoffman, June 23, 2015
2 min read
School Choice & Charters Opinion Reason #1 Why CTA Should Reimagine Permanent Status Now
As a union representative (I sit on UTLA's House of Representatives), it is clear to me that our teaches union must restore public faith in public education through advocacy of some common sense change such as reimaging permanent status as a tenure system for teachers similar to those in place for college professors.
Phylis Hoffman, June 15, 2015
2 min read
Reading & Literacy Opinion The Last Days of School
The last days of school along with not having to do any high stakes end of year testing allowed me to make sure I ended the year with a well balanced curriculum and a good dose of fun for everyone. Here's a countdown of my last 18 days of 2014/15 school year.
Phylis Hoffman, June 7, 2015
3 min read
Student Well-Being Opinion Preschool, Adult Ed, Counselors: All the Pieces Matter
I was picketing because the board, in issuing those reduction in force notices (RIF), is cutting vital personnel, and program pieces who serve the neediest students in our district. Sharing the streets with me that day were preschool students and their parents, high school students, and continuing education adult students. Several of them spoke and their stories reminded me of why it was important that we save those 609 positions. Why all the pieces in LAUSD matter.
Phylis Hoffman, May 17, 2015
3 min read
School & District Management Opinion Appreciating Teachers Who Change the World Student by Student, Day After Day
One thing I will be forever grateful for in my time spent out of the classroom is the opportunity it gave me to watch teachers teach. As a support provider to teachers working at two large elementary schools and going through coaching blitzes, I have seen well over 100 teachers teach. Yes over 100. Because I always learn something when I watch teachers teach, I've decided to distill my reflections down into some key takeaways worth sharing with you.
Phylis Hoffman, April 29, 2015
2 min read
Student Well-Being Opinion Funding to Create the Schools California Students Deserve
I am thankful to report that my district, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), and my union, the United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA) have come to a tentative contract agreement and the possibility of a strike is no longer looming on the horizon. Like most agreements, compromise was made on both sides of the bargaining table. I won't bore you with all the details but I do want to talk about one - college counselors.
Phylis Hoffman, April 21, 2015
2 min read