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!

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)

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)

Book 8 teaser: Your heritage doesn’t determine your legacy, and that’s a good thing.

As a 10th grade English teacher, I learn a lot about students from their writing. I read about divorces, neglect, drug use, alcohol problems, and misery. And I hold all of their words sacred. They’ve trusted me with them, and they could write about something easier, but they share what eats at them. They have … Continue reading Book 8 teaser: Your heritage doesn’t determine your legacy, and that’s a good thing.

The semester in which Mahrree Shin suddenly became my mentor

I haven’t been too active on my blog since September, as I’ve mentioned before, because I was offered to teach 10th grade English at a local high school when a teacher suddenly had to leave. The strange thing is, I’d forgotten that I’d given up on the idea of teaching a couple of years ago. … Continue reading The semester in which Mahrree Shin suddenly became my mentor

To all my high school teachers 30 years ago–I’m so very, very sorry

While I was getting fingerprinted yesterday, I realized I had a lot of apologies to make. No, I hadn’t committed any crime, except for becoming a substitute teacher for a local high school. Which means I remembered my high school years and the way I behaved. No, I wasn’t smoking in the east parking lot, … Continue reading To all my high school teachers 30 years ago–I’m so very, very sorry

My kids are high school dropouts, and I couldn’t be happier about it

My 17-year-old daughter has been awarded an academic scholarship to the university she’s attending this fall. But she wasn’t mentioned in the assembly the high school held last week honoring scholarship recipients. She’s leaving high school with a 3.9 GPA, but she won’t receive any honors. She quietly walked away from school yesterday, and didn’t … Continue reading My kids are high school dropouts, and I couldn’t be happier about it