Sunday, November 27, 2011

Three Reasons I Love Teaching Eighth Graders: a Haiku

1) Imaginative
2) Quickly forget to "act cool"
3) Can converse deeply

When seminar kid, I., showed me his crossed fingers, I had to take a picture! Simple, original, funny. I. is by far the greatest in the class at reading aloud; he is thoughtful about plot and theme, supports the ideas of others, and he enjoys wearing ridiculous hats.

Speaking of hats, one seminar student last year loved his topper but understood the school's no-hat-in-the-classroom policy and decided to come prepared to maintain the good condition of his natty accessory with his own portable hat stand, the ultimate in nerdy coolness:

I hope these pictures begin to show you why I have the world's best job.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude and Remembrance

Sometimes a picture
is a far better teacher
than any lecture

I don't know who took this picture, but it is beautiful. Teachers often speak in military terms about our profession: long time teachers are "veterans", resource teachers aren't always considered "in the trenches" by regular classroom teachers, teachers swap "war stories" in the lounge, some "battle" for or against special testing of students. Unfortunately, there are teachers whose classrooms are emotional battlefields where children are casualties.

When dealing with difficult kids, resistant learners, I must remain conscious of what I fight: IGNORANCE, not a child; AN AMORAL CULTURE, not a child; APATHY, not a child.

Ephesians 6:12 puts it this way:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Let the dedicated teachers soldier on, fighting the good fight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I am consistent
About making them wash hands
After every sneeze,

Hand sanitizer
for those with allergies. So
why do I get sick?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SALON 2011--and lumpia

It happened!

This year's seminar kids had their first salon--with a triple focus on memoir, extended cross-sense metaphor, and irony. Oh, and food...don't forget food, and by food I mean eggrolls, sweet and sour pork, three kinds of homemade cookies, 1.4 million bags of chips, 8 liters of soda, and (cue the singing angels) lumpia. God bless the Philippines.

I had forgotten how much work, and how near hopeless, it is to transform a classroom with fifty dollars, a ladder, and some push pins. Part of the trouble is that the salon was smack in the middle of the day, bracketed by a legitimate and challenging history lesson about Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence and slavery. Part of the trouble.

But these are pictures I took anyway after my 12 hour school day, amazed at how three hours could accomplish so little. I'll try to get some pics of the event itself, because I must tell you: it went well again, and this time about a dozen parents came (double last year), a letter of appreciation was sent to my principal about the event, and we had lumpia.

I count any event that involves lumpia as a clear and absolute success.