Let the writing begin . . .

Many people know that I’m an avid “bucket lister.”  The list, which I started 8 years ago, has pushed me to take risks, prioritize, and never lose sight of my passions.  Soon, I will get a chance to check off one of the most daunting items on my list: #5: Publish a book. Since September,…

Why you haven’t heard from me in a bit

Hi all, You may have noticed that I haven’t posted here in months.  Let me explain why: I have a new job, one that has taken a lot more time, attention, and energy than even my most liberal guesses.  I’m now a parent of a fussy, growing, baby boy.  So, if you’re wondering why I…

Something Deeper: On Teaching with Heart and the Poetry of Teaching

Teaching is poetry. It’s the creation of something deeper, something sleeping below a classroom structure.  Its meaning is buried underneath flash cards and Power Points, grade checks and rubrics.  The surface seems simple and direct — we see the quizzes and cold-calls as clearly as pure rhymes.  The bells ring and the lines break and we prepare for…

Going beyond grades: Why we HAVE to do better.

What do you think is the lowest G.P.A. I need in order to get into a good retirement home — one of those fancy ones with never-ending soft serve ice cream and Jeopardy tournaments in the common area?  How many gold stars do you think I need in order say, “I’m happy”?  Oooh, most importantly,…

Dear Kill-Joy, Take a Breather.

Glance around your classroom, or house, or job. If you work with groups of kids, chances are you’ll notice some things. – You will notice one kid picking his nose. Hard. If he’s older, he may be trying to hide it. Under 10 years old and he is proudly showcasing his gold. Regardless, no nose…

Four-Horsemen of the Motivational Apocalypse

NOPE!  N.O.P.E.  I refuse.  I won’t.  I don’t want to.  I can’t.  These are the words we teachers loathe to hear, yet seem to hear on the daily.   Lack of motivation (amotivation) is one of our greatest plagues on the individual, educational, and societal level.  What contexts cause it? And, is there anything we…

Searching for Sasquatch: Why unmotivated people don’t exist

Picture an average teenage boy.  Probably smells like stale sweat doused in a layer of Axe Body Spray.  Atrocious haircut.  Eyes glazed by the flashing images of Call of Duty blaring from the screen.  Poster child of “whatever.”  His parents, not wanting to raise a child into an adult pile of mud, want to see…

The “L” Word: Education’s greatest disease (and no, it’s not Lupus)

Hundreds of yawning, red-eyed students are crammed in pairs, stretching the school gym.  A dull hum, like distant locusts, murmurs the space as pencils scratch hundreds of little bubbles.  It’s state-test day, and there is an air of anxiety among more than just the students.  We teachers have one thought on our mind: “How are…

What Students Really Need to Hear

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to…

Why I can’t wait to fail

For well over three years, I’ve been wanting to blog regularly. It makes sense because I love to share ideas, I have a passion for Language Arts, and – true to my Millenial Generation-form – my ego needs the boosting that only social media can massage. Sure, I have posted a few times here and…

Boys will be boys . . . without jobs.

Boys are animals.  Plain and simple.  Anyone who believes otherwise has clearly never worked with the teenage variety of the so-called male species, nor seen them in their “raw” form.  What’s fascinating to me, though, is that these animals are experiencing what many might call a crisis: Boys are failing academically at a growing rate…