#342: May 8, Soul Work

It’s May 8. I sleep in an extra hour. I make myself a kick-ass scrambler. I pick my brother up at 9 and we drive toward I-84. There’s a bunch of teachers on an overpass wearing red and hanging their banners and I honk at them. My brother and I make our way to theContinue reading “#342: May 8, Soul Work”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year, Redux: We Should Be Angry Most of the Time, But for Some Reason. . .

There are things that should infuriate public school teachers about our jobs. Here’s just one: It is an impossible gig; to wit, there is not enough time in the work day to do the job we have been asked to do, or rather, the job that we would like to do, the job that weContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year, Redux: We Should Be Angry Most of the Time, But for Some Reason. . .”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: December 4, 2017

It’s a Monday and it’s my birthday. None of my students knew and I didn’t bother to tell them. It was a rough day. Last night, I stayed up too late. This morning, and all day really, I was suffering as a result. My cold’s getting better, I think, or, at least, no worse. ButContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: December 4, 2017”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: November 29, 2017

I am feeling under the weather. But I am not so far gone as to have to call in sick. I need to keep resting, continue with my abstinence from adult beverages for a couple more days, try not to worry. I got some paperwork from the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System, a request forContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: November 29, 2017”

Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: August 29, 2017

One of my favorite words in the English language is the word “penultimate.” It’s a great word. And this school year I will likely overuse it. Consider yourself forewarned. Today began the (sort of) first day of the (maybe) penultimate school year of my teaching career. I say “sort of” in light of the factContinue reading “Diary of an English Teacher in His Penultimate Year: August 29, 2017”

Letter to a Colleague in Her Second Year of Teaching

  Dear Friend, I don’t pretend to be able to advise you, but I can tell you what I have done to ensure that I do not become a casualty of the oftentimes insurmountable and sometimes impossible demands of the profession. In your second year of teaching, if you find yourself in a perpetual stateContinue reading “Letter to a Colleague in Her Second Year of Teaching”

#142: This School Year Has Not Been, Thus Far,

On this second day of National Poetry Writing Month, compliments of the prompt for the first day on the http://www.napowrimo.net website, a poem of negation, a poem that describes a thing in terms of what it is not: This School Year Has Not Been, Thus Far,  soft and cuddly, a baby blanket; warm and inviting,Continue reading “#142: This School Year Has Not Been, Thus Far,”

Of Fatherhood: The Most Difficult Job Ever Invented

Outside of motherhood, that is.  The way I see it, the three most difficult jobs ever invented, in this order, are motherhood, fatherhood, and teaching in an underfunded public school.  I’ve taken on two out of three.  I find fatherhood exceedingly difficult and this perturbs me.  Whose big idea was it in the first place,Continue reading “Of Fatherhood: The Most Difficult Job Ever Invented”

Of English Teacher Math: Teaching 200 Students How To Write

Here are some numbers to consider for the end of the semester.  I asked 140 IB English students to turn in their logs, into which they have composed over the last 4 weeks anywhere between 20 and 30 pages of response to the readings we’ve done out of The Best American Essays of the Century. Let’s justContinue reading “Of English Teacher Math: Teaching 200 Students How To Write”

An English Teacher Doesn’t Do The Math: The Trouble With Assessment

It’s Friday and I’m not at work. It’s a furlough day, one of the 14 days cut from the school year in our district’s belt tightening regimen. I’ve got grading to do, but I’m not going to do it. Hell no. Instead, I’ll write about doing it. I want to conclude this part of myContinue reading “An English Teacher Doesn’t Do The Math: The Trouble With Assessment”