A Retiree’s Wish for Returning Teachers


“Go out to lunch on teachers’ first day back. And plan a vacation so that you’ll be in some exotic place on the first day of school.” Retired teachers with toothy smiles and unfurrowed brows gave me this same advice again and again in the months leading up to my retirement from teaching English and working in the curriculum office.

While their advice was astonishing in its singularity, the comments from teachers who would be returning to school in the fall varied widely:

Continue reading A Retiree’s Wish for Returning Teachers

Is Vocational Education “Unconventional”?

Do college graduates make more money? Not always, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Do college graduates make more money? Not always, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In 2015, the average plumber or electrician made only about $3000 less annually than the average K-12 teacher, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Electrical and electronics installers and repairers earned about the same as teachers, and aircraft mechanics and service technicians made several thousand dollars more than teachers. Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels made tens of thousands more than the average teacher.

Given that reality, why do we continue to short-change students by cutting back on vocational education and insisting that college is the only worthy goal for high school graduates? Continue reading Is Vocational Education “Unconventional”?

Write Good?


It’s an interesting day in politics to be an English teacher.

“No matter how good I do on something, they’ll never write good,” Trump said of the New York Times.

Social media has been abuzz, mocking Trump for his poor grammar, largely quoting him out of context as simply saying of the newspaper, “They don’t write good.”

I’m an English teacher who grew up with a father who quit school in fifth grade and spoke with a heavy Appalachian dialect. I didn’t learn to speak Standard English until I made the decision in college to become an English teacher. But, thankfully, my teachers recognized that I could think. I’ve known many smart, clear thinking people who don’t necessarily follow the rules of grammar when they are speaking off the cuff, as Trump was. While I find humor in Trump’s comments, I could, perhaps, forgive his grammatical errors. Continue reading Write Good?