On the Middleton costume debacle
I've been watching the reaction to one group of teachers at Middleton Elementary School dressing up in red, white and blue (and one as the Statue of Liberty!) standing behind a cardboard "wall" that says Make America Great Again, and another group at the same school who dressed in cringeworthy stereotypical Mexican costumes. As a fellow teacher, I can't fully express my horror and disappointment at the behavior of these elementary school teachers. I hardly know where to start. For one thing, no teacher would do this if they thought they were going…Read more »
Freedom to make mistakes
When I was about 26, I played my first open mic. We spelled it “open mike” back then. I lived in Brooklyn and had a job selling futon furniture in Soho. A friend pretty much forced me to perform something at an open mike at Speak Easy, a small basement folk club on Macdougal St. in the village. She’d known me in Honolulu, where I had performed some spoken word stuff. But I could tell this was a music club, so I brought my guitar and sang a couple of songs I’d written.…Read more »
Why myth matters
Some of my students think of myths merely as wild, entertaining stories, like ancient horror movies. They’re shocked and titillated at incestuous unions (siblings Zeus and Hera), parents devouring their children (Cronos), children dismembering their grandparents (Marduk and Tiamat), dead wives appearing to living husbands in a horrifying state of maggoty decomposition (Izanami and Izanagi). “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” has nothing—nothing—on ancient mythology. Horror movies, though, don’t last. What was shocking 30 years ago seems tame today. Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula” seems quaint now, inspiring chuckles more than fear. But the ancient myths stick…Read more »
Dyscalculia: a teacher with a learning disability
At the ripe old age of 52, I discovered that although I may be lazy and careless in many aspects of my life (e.g. my lawn and desk), I wasn’t at fault in one particular way I’d always believed I was. I figured out that I have a learning disability and have apparently felt its effects for my entire life. I’d always known that I was bad at numbers, but three years ago, while sitting around waiting for a staff meeting to begin, I asked Juan, a colleague in Special Ed, if there…Read more »
Telling my truth
My truth right now is that I’m getting depressed as hell at all the shit my students have gone through in just the first semester of school. In the schools where I taught before, there were suicides, arrests, and students being abused at home, but they were few and far between. This year, it’s been an avalanche and it’s making my life feel really heavy and sad. A kid was murdered; Cristobal and Lisa were arrested and are going to be tried in adult court. More than one student at my school is…Read more »