Good-bye,Land of the Long White Cloud. Hello, Land of the Stinking Onion.

There’s not much time for me to write a farewell blog. Geoff and Eliza left this afternoon, and I’m flying out with Augusta tomorrow. Like many things on this trip, flying separately was not planned. There was some mix-up with ticketing. Many people have reassured me that a 24-hour flight with an eight-week-old baby will … More Good-bye,Land of the Long White Cloud. Hello, Land of the Stinking Onion.

The Exhausted Mom’s Version of my Fulbright Project

This morning, a friend asked if I am now a full-time researcher and mom: “some kind of superwoman,” as he put it. My brain isn’t working well enough for me to make a witty comparison between myself and superwoman. I am trying to wrap up my project on a ridiculously small amount of sleep.  Visiting … More The Exhausted Mom’s Version of my Fulbright Project


Augusta Victoria Burkhart was born on April 5, 2017 at 9:09 A.M. She weighs 3,240 grams, is 55 cm long, and is covered in baby fur. She is lovely. Geoff’s been proudly walking her all over the hospital. Eliza, equally excited, is going out of her way to be a responsible big sister. I’m still … More Augusta!

The Caesar

When I was pregnant with Eliza, Geoff and I attended childbirth classes. Each class was disturbing in some way. I remember watching a video of a woman holding onto a bar, sweating and gnashing her teeth, while squatting over a hospital bed. I learned in another class that breastfeeding only hurts if you’re doing it … More The Caesar

Work vs. Not-work

Although this was a long time ago, I don’t think I’m exaggerating. I taught all day, planned most weekends, served on three committees, and ran four after-school programs. I split my time between two schools, created an art curriculum for pre-K through 8th grades, floundered with classroom management, and hunted for free or cheap art … More Work vs. Not-work


How do you create something sustainable within a framework of flux and crisis?  I began teaching in Chicago Public Schools in 2005.   Since then, CPS has been led by six different CEOs, each with different initiatives and policies. In that time, CPS has been divided into areas, then networks, then clusters, and finally areas once … More CPS ADHD

Southern Hospitality

When I applied for a Fulbright, I figured three or four months would be plenty of time to see New Zealand. I didn’t plan on being super-pregnant.  I knew pregnancy would put a damper on my adventure travel plans. (Even a laid-back country won’t let me bungee jump.)  But I didn’t realize just how short … More Southern Hospitality

Research vs. Whim

My project has led me to research educational policy.  This surprised me.  I’ve always considered myself a teacher’s teacher.  I believe in the power of an individual teacher and don’t often involve myself in policy.   Education policy is made outside of the schools and reflects the views and values of the culture, or at least … More Research vs. Whim


“Look! It’s got a duck!  This place has everything!”  This was Eliza touring the beach house we rented for the weekend in Herbertville, NZ.  After setting down the wooden duck statue and continuing through the rest of the house, her excitement only increased.   I know how she feels.  Being in a new country lets me … More Herbertville