Author Archives: dfgately

About dfgately

Middle School Principal Jericho, NY

About parenting: You’re not so bad

For years I’ve had a sneaky suspicion that I was a horrible parent.  It wasn’t anything obvious. I never left my children in a car with the windows rolled up on a hot day.  My kids always have money in their lunch accounts at school. We have a pool in our backyard, that’s something.  We’ve even driven to Disney with them, in Florida, twice. Nevertheless, I have a nagging thought in the back of my mind, or in my horribly dark soul, that I’m really not cutting it as a parent.  Fortunately for me, I have discovered a book that has helped me to understand that I actually am a horrible parent. Continue reading

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Stories: About a boy

Amazing educators, when you ask them, “What do you teach?”, they reply, “I teach kids!”  Great teachers love kids. They love the students in front of them and they understand the sacred nature of their professional responsibility to nurture the academic and personal development of kids.  Great teachers know that relationships are the most important thing; not homework, not tests, not awesome lesson plans, but relationships. Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, edcamp, Educational Focus, Inside the Middle School, Personal Best, Teaching/Learning

About kids and devices: Trying to find the answers

Are there areas of your practice as a leader or teacher that you haven’t figured out?   How are you modelling your learning? How can we be transparent about the process as we learn new things and try to find answers to life’s essential questions? Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, Educational Focus, Leadership, Parenting, Personal Best, Reflections, Teaching/Learning | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

About school: We can make it special

rincipals and teachers can create singular moments for kids everyday.  Like the Brooklyn Nets, these are our schools, classrooms, hallways, gyms, and cafeterias. We are in charge of these settings.  We can do extraordinary things to create lifelong fans of learning and of our schools. Continue reading

Posted in adolescence, Best Practice, Inside the Middle School, Leadership, Personal Best, Teaching/Learning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

About Work / Life Balance: So much to learn

It can be difficult to describe the magic of the Ed camp model.  It’s liberating to cast off the formalities, restrictions, and passivity of conventional educational contexts (read: SCHOOL) and embrace a mode of learning that elevates choice, participation and sharing.  When I’m asked to give an example of the power of EdCamp, I will describe the amazing session that took place this past Saturday on the topic of Work / Life balance. We wish you were there! Continue reading

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About reading: You’re not alone

For every adolescent who encounters fear or conflict or love, there is a person, real or fictional, whose life is described in words and whose experiences can help them realize they aren’t the only one.  When kids read books, they come to recognize that the world contains innumerable thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Continue reading

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About cooking: You can eat your mistakes

@DMGately at Nathan’s Famous 4th of July. It was the Fourth of July.   I was doing what I love doing in the summertime, using my barbeque smoker to make pulled pork sliders for dinner. I woke up at 4:15am to … Continue reading

Posted in Best Practice, Educational Focus, Leadership, Reflections, Teaching/Learning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

About hope: We can’t give in, can’t give up

When Sandy Hook happened, I was certain that something would change.  Six and seven year olds!  If as a nation we were not willing to do something to address gun violence in our schools following the deaths of six and seven year-olds, I told myself, nothing would ever change.  How could we not act!?

But we didn’t.  

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About Feedback: Good enough is not good enough

If you’re going to have a single job for a long time, the two jobs you would do well to consider are classroom teacher and middle school school principal.  Both of these are dynamic roles that are constantly challenging, you can never be bored.  The jobs of the principal or the teacher are wildly unpredictable.  It’s important to have a plan but don’t expect that you’ll be able to follow it. Because of the chaotic dynamism of these roles, there’s a tendency for some people to cling to consistency. Continue reading

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About school climate: You might control the weather

We cannot control the weather, but there are so many things that educators do control.
It’s about intentionality. Everything we do as educators should be done with intention, not because that’s the way were were taught, not because it’s what “feels” right, or what’s easy for us; we must always act in ways that create safe conditions for learning to take place and to build the resilience of our kids.
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