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TNTP Re-imagine Teaching

TNTP Publishes Essays on Risk and Rigor in the Classroom by Four Award-Winning Teachers

September 24, 2013

One-of-a-Kind Resource Includes Essays from Winners of TNTP’s $25,000 Fishman Prize

BROOKLYN, NY – TNTP, a nonprofit organization working to ensure that all students get excellent teachers, today released the latest in its one-of-a-kind series of essays on effective teaching written by and for practicing teachers.

Titled Going Deep: Empowering Students to Take Risks, Make Mistakes and Master Difficult Material, the new paper was written by some of the nation’s best teachers—this year’s winners of TNTP’s $25,000 Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice.

Going Deep focuses on a common challenge many teachers face: How can teachers encourage students to take the intellectual risks necessary to master rigorous academic content? At a time when teachers nationwide are striving to achieve the increased instructional rigor required under new Common Core standards, it’s a crucial topic.

This is not just another teacher guidebook. In the essays, practicing teachers share their expertise in their own voices, writing vividly about their own students and classrooms. Collectively, they offer a range of strategies that are helping students succeed in some of the nation’s most challenging school settings, including:

  • Javier Velazquez, a 6th grade math teacher in Chicago, Ill., walks readers through the in-depth questioning method that he uses to help students experience the joy and challenge inherent in the problem-solving process.
  • Jennifer Corroy, an 11th-12th grade English teacher in Donna, Texas, describes how she uses children’s books and college-level literary theory to introduce her high school students to sophisticated analysis.
  • Josalyn Tresvant, a K-5th grade special education teacher in Memphis, Tenn., illustrates how she meticulously guides her special education students through a process of reflection and goal-tracking, which helps them take ownership of the behaviors and academic objectives that will steer them toward their college goals.
  • Keith Robinson, a 9th grade Algebra teacher and co-founder of People’s Prep Academy in Newark, N.J., writes about forging a classroom culture that values hard work over natural ability—by putting an international soccer star at its center.

“Even excellent teachers often struggle to help students master challenging concepts,” said TNTP President Timothy Daly. “Yet it’s rare to hear them describe that process in their own words. These essays give us a glimpse into the classrooms of four incredible teachers who faced those same struggles and found ingenious ways to overcome them. It’s a chance to see into the process of the very best teachers we have.”

The paper is the second in an annual series from TNTP, written each year by a new cohort of Fishman Prize winners on a topic related to best classroom practices. The application period for the 2014 Fishman Prize will open in mid-November.

To download the full paper or request a print copy, visit

About TNTP

TNTP believes our nation’s public schools can offer all children an excellent education. A national nonprofit founded by teachers, we help school systems end educational inequality and achieve their goals for students. We work at every level of the public education system to attract and train talented teachers and school leaders, ensure rigorous and engaging classrooms, and create environments that prioritize great teaching and accelerate student learning. Since 1997, we’ve partnered with more than 200 public school districts, charter school networks and state departments of education. We have recruited or trained more than 50,000 teachers, inspired policy change through acclaimed studies such as The Widget Effect (2009) and The Irreplaceables (2012), and launched one of the nation’s premiere awards for excellent teaching, the Fishman Prize for Superlative Classroom Practice. Today, TNTP is active in more than 30 cities.