Jonathon Medeiros, NBCT

Jonathon Medeiros has been teaching and learning about Language Arts and rhetoric for 15 years with students on Kauaʻi and is currently teaching 12th grade Language Arts and serving as an upper academy lead at his alma mater Kaua'i High. He frequently writes about education policy and is the former director of the Kauaʻi Teacher Fellowship. Jonathon enjoys building things, surfing, and spending time with his wife and daughters. He believes in teaching his students that if you change all of your mistakes and regrets, you’d erase yourself. Jonathon is currently working on a few projects, including a collection of essays, a full length collection of poems from his familyʻs daily writing practice during the global pandemic shutdown, and a journal about his days in the ocean. Follow Jonathon on Twitter - @jonmedeiros or visit his page at

I Believe in Water

February 16, 2023

By: Jonathon Medeiros, NBCT I believe in water. I believe in surfing the wave I am on, not the wave I wish I were on. I believe in building, learning by trying, and in observing my failures. I believe in being curious, celebrating with purpose, building empathy, in questioning. Everything about learning in my classes is moved by these beliefs. Students learn by questioning, observing, being curious, and by building relationships with each other and with the places they live.  Years ago, my students and I were working to write “college” essays, and they all, to a person, struggled to…

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Stop, Look, and Listen: Kilo

October 14, 2022

“The most basic lesson that all art teaches us is to stop, look, and listen to life on this planet, including our own lives…” – Frederick Buechner By: Jonathon Medeiros, NBCT As the pandemic stretches into its third year, I wonder when we will stop thinking in terms of “when this is over.” I wonder at all the voices calling for a time when we can “get back to normal.” I marvel at the desire to use the same, tired measurement tools to quantify the ever evolving ways we fail our students. Normal wasn’t working for very many people but…

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It’s time to think beyond the curriculum

February 1, 2022

By: Jonathon Medeiros, NBCT An essay I read recently talked about the importance of drama in learning, and its usefulness to us as teachers. The author made sure to delineate between “drama” and “theater,” explaining that drama is participant centered and theater is audience centered. The former is for the people acting, working through the material. The latter is for the entertainment of the audience.  Curriculum is like this, I think. Too often, it turns our students, colleagues, and administrators into an audience. Overwhelmed teachers, caring teachers, new teachers, and old, those wanting the best for their students can all…

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Questioning Our Most Dearly Held Beliefs

December 17, 2020

Aunty Puanani Burgess, a Hawaiian activist, poet, and community leader, writes about how to build community, how to help people know themselves, and each other. She focuses on finding and sharing our moʻolelo, our stories. In examining our lives to find words for our stories, she underscores the power of asking questions, of questioning even, and especially our most closely held beliefs. There is value in the kind of questioning Aunty Pua asks of us. Especially valuable is to question the institutions that are so ubiquitous we forget that certain aspects of them could be different; we forget that these…

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Principal (Teacher?): “Everyone a leader, everyone a learner.”

November 27, 2018

I clearly remember when I first heard that phrase, regarded as a rapidly tiring cliché by many working in the Hawaii public school system. I was at a lunch meeting a few years ago, when about 20 other Hawaii State Teacher Fellows and I were joined by then Deputy Superintendent Stephen Schatz. We were discussing the forward direction of the Hawaii DOE and hoped for change in the paradigm that predominated educational administration in Hawaii. The crux of Schatz’s belief is shared ownership over the school system, from teaching to curriculum to school design to administration. “Everyone a leader, everyone…

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National Endowment for the Humanities Reinvigorated My Teaching Career, and We Should Want More of That

January 22, 2018

“The world belongs to those who can imagine it.” – Luis Valdez Teachers hear many voices over the course of a career. We hear our own voices driving us. We hear students’ voices. We hear the voices of the public, sometimes calling us names, and the voices of our colleagues and administrators calling us in many directions at once. We also hear voices echoing from offices at the District or State or farther afield. Luis Valdez, activist, playwright, and director of Teatro Campesino, was a guest lecturer and inspiring voice at a summer course I attended recently. We studied the…

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