I know it’s scary; do it anyway.

This is my mantra, because I am a coward, always have been. Yet I recently found myself sitting in Logan Airport in Boston, MA and realized I’d gotten there all by myself which, just a few years ago, would have been impossible. I’m scared of traveling because too many things can go wrong. I hate … Continue reading I know it’s scary; do it anyway.

Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit can together defeat fear

One of my favorite writings assignments I give my 10th graders is the "Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit" write-up. We're reading a holocaust memoir, and we talk about the qualities the survivors had in common: 1) the ability to maintain hope and optimism; 2) a feeling of gratitude, no matter the circumstances; and 3) grit and … Continue reading Optimism, Gratitude, and Grit can together defeat fear

You can’t manipulate the educated, which is why they don’t want us educated

The entire reason for my attending a class as a grad student was to argue with the professor. She was on one side politically, I was on the other. I respected the woman immensely, but daggum, did she know how to push my buttons every week! It was like she was TRYING to make me … Continue reading You can’t manipulate the educated, which is why they don’t want us educated

A student is raising a hand: brace yourself!

Students raising their hands during class? I used to think that was a good thing . . . for the first week of teaching. Since then I've discovered that what they say will be as relevant as dandruff shampoo is to Medusa. We may be in the middle of comparing propaganda during WWII to modern … Continue reading A student is raising a hand: brace yourself!

Books? Thinking? Are those “lit”?

["Lit," by the way, is the trendy way to say "cool," or "neato, daddio." Just typing that last one is totally not "lit".] These lines are what I hope none of my students will ever say about my class: These lines are also why I often read out loud to them, because even though they're 10th graders, … Continue reading Books? Thinking? Are those “lit”?

We spend so much in anger and it buys us nothing (Plus a HUGE sneak peek to Book 8, “The Last Day”)

They got into a fight in the cafeteria yesterday, the two boys. One was calling another a derogatory name until the victim finally punched the bully in the head during dinner. “Did you see any problems with them yesterday? You have both of them,” my husband asked me. They are in one of my American … Continue reading We spend so much in anger and it buys us nothing (Plus a HUGE sneak peek to Book 8, “The Last Day”)

The hardest, toughest, scariest, best year I’ve ever endured: my first year as a 10th grade teacher (plus another sneak peek into Book 8)

“You’re gonna miss me, aren’t you, Mrs. Mercer?” a student asked me yesterday. “You big goober, of course I’m going to miss you.” But I didn’t say the first three words out loud. (At least I don’t think I did.) But I meant I would miss him, to my surprise. Back in autumn when I … Continue reading The hardest, toughest, scariest, best year I’ve ever endured: my first year as a 10th grade teacher (plus another sneak peek into Book 8)

Book 8 IS COMING THIS SUMMER! (I promise, really–just hang in there, friends)

Sorry I can't be more specific with the date. I need to finish this year of teaching in June. Then prep for and teach three weeks of summer school. Then move into our fourth house in just one year (a personal best [worst] for number of moves for us). Then finish editing Book 8 (all … Continue reading Book 8 IS COMING THIS SUMMER! (I promise, really–just hang in there, friends)

I used to think prom was a waste of time and money, but last weekend I realized why we need it (and a sneak peek to book 8)

My inner anthropologist compelled me on Saturday night to go to our high school and witness a cultural phenomenon called “walking out.” At proms in the west, this doesn’t occur. But here in Downeast Maine it’s the event of the year. Before the prom begins, the juniors (even though all grades were invited) link arms … Continue reading I used to think prom was a waste of time and money, but last weekend I realized why we need it (and a sneak peek to book 8)

They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)

My 6-year-old tried to play chess with me at their school’s STEM night last week. I didn’t realize he knew the rules, and it turns out he doesn’t, because he produced a secret weapon: a 6-legged spider he’d made out of clay in his class earlier. “This is spider-guy,” he announced. “And he can eat … Continue reading They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)