This past week was Homecoming at the high school where I teach. My students who were sophomores when I first started are now seniors, and since the first week in September I’ve repeatedly heard from them, “I can’t believe this is my last [fill in the blank].” Some say it with great relief, others with … Continue reading Coming Home Will Sustain You (or, how a 50-year-old embarrassingly crashed a Homecoming dance)
I'm astounded at the level of ignorance people numbly accept. Never have we lived in an age with so much knowledge and data so easily accessible, yet we want very little of it. For hundreds of years--no, for thousands of years, education was the coveted goal of nearly all people. To learn to read? Have … Continue reading There is always hope and options; bizarrely, we don’t seem to want them.
I have five sons, ages 7-25. All of them have some brain damage, and it happens something like this: "Anyway, the little guy came barreling in there, and just as I stepped out, he turned and smacked right into my sword! Clanked his head, I’m sorry to report, but all little boys have to have … Continue reading All boys have some brain damage or they’re not real boys. (or “You’re not going to believe what happened . . .”)
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.
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
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
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!
["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”?
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”)
“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)