Ever Say This to a Teacher?

First-year Teacher

“So what are you doing with your summer now that school’s out?” she asked. It was a sincere question, said with a smile that indicated her happiness for me.

My acquaintance had forgotten that I no longer teach but now work in Central Services in a twelve-month job. I explained that this is my busiest time of year, as I prepare for teacher workshops and design lesson packages teachers can download in the fall.

I’ve gotten such questions many times over the years—and even still get them from people who’ve forgotten that I’m now an instructional specialist.

But their questions are distinctly different from the ones that make every teacher and former teacher rage. Each summer of my entire career I’ve had to control the urge to spew vitriol in the face of uninformed comments like this one: “It must be nice to have a two-month paid vacation.”

Continue reading Ever Say This to a Teacher?

Are You a ‘Tweener?

Blog 6.14.14

Over the course of my career, I taught students from grades seven through twelve, but my hands-down favorite was tenth grade. It’s the most magical of in-between years, when students anticipate getting their licenses—and when parents can use it as leverage for adolescents who might otherwise be less focused. Sixteen-year-olds are beginning to care more about the world around them, but they aren’t close enough to graduation to become jaded and to have one foot out the door.

They are also still willing to change their minds. Continue reading Are You a ‘Tweener?

We Got the Beat?


“Time for music!” announced the teacher, gesturing toward the bookshelves, where she had laid out all the cheap plastic instruments in a row on the bookshelf.

Before she could tell us to line up, we children scrambled to the side of the classroom.  The boys trampled one another to see who could get to the drums first.  The girls’ tastes were more varied, some choosing xylophones, some flutes, some triangles.  Instruments in hand, we created a cacophony of sound on the way back to our desks, until the teacher called for attention over the din of our uncontrolled abandon.

Continue reading We Got the Beat?