Coming Home Will Sustain You (or, how a 50-year-old embarrassingly crashed a Homecoming dance)

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)

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

No, I haven’t dropped off the earth, but here’s a Really Bad Book in the meantime.

Last week I suddenly was blessed with the opportunity to move into a new rental house, freshly remodeled. At the exact same time, I was also blessed with the opportunity to teach high school English full time, taking over Sophomore English and Creative Writing, and told that I needed to come up with lessons--quick! All … Continue reading No, I haven’t dropped off the earth, but here’s a Really Bad Book in the meantime.