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Posted by on in General

Seventh Grade Afternoon, Act I:

My fourth hour class is finally settled. Finally. Three phone calls for sick, hurt and suspended students, their books, and their backpacks to be sent to the office. Hormones raging, voices raising, pencils sharpened, restroom needs taken care of, and journals slowly finding their way to desk tops. I am launching into the vocabulary for the day and have just flicked from the first to the second slide of my PowerPoint presentation.

And the phone rings.

"Ramsey's Crazy House," I announce with a hint of frustration.

"Um, yeah. This is Lisa from XYZ Publishing," a young voice chirps.

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Posted by on in General

mama bear

It was the end of a long day of school...or so I thought. Already 4:45, and everyone had left for home except for me and Valerie, our school secretary. I was putting the finishing touches on the slew of reports scattered about my desk. Valerie worked on her own projects behind the counter, right outside of my office. I had just called my wife to let her know that I was planning on leaving by five.

The front door swung open, and a thirty-something woman began bellowing at the top of her lungs, "What is wrong with this school? I want to see the principal!"

Valerie, ever so calm and professional, ignored the angry outburst and quietly asked, "May I help you?"

"You the principal?" hollered the woman as her husband and two boys stood timidly behind her.

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Posted by on in General


The black fog arrived early this year. In years past, it had begun swirling above my head some time in May. But here it was, a month before Spring Break, and it was already hovering over me with its tendrils reaching menacingly toward my skull. In but a few moments, it had invaded my brain, darkened my heart, and smothered my soul.

It was only February.

Anxiety awoke me nightly and filled me with self-doubt, worry, and fear. Adrenaline coursed through my bloodstream, jolting every single cell from its slumber. My pulse raced and despair left me exhausted and sweating despite the fact that I was rendered motionless, unable to flee.

Every thought in my head was about school:

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Posted by on in General


Micah was the last to leave my reading class this morning at the college. He is one of twenty high school juniors taking my class for dual credit.

I had written an online compliment for one of his assignments, letting him know that his writing was fantastic and definitely superior to the work of the other students in class. He waited until the rest had left and then quietly thanked me for the positive feedback.

For the next twenty minutes we dove into a conversation about writing - about things that anyone who does not spend their every waking minute playing with words - would not understand.

It was like I was talking to my sixteen-year-old self.

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Posted by on in General

teacher with gun 2 opinionatedmale com

Here is a wild idea! Let’s arm teachers! Just give them a few hours of training and tack onto their paychecks a few hundred dollars as a “bonus” to do the job of someone else who is actually qualified to protect the public. Just think of how much money we can save!

Why not? Our teachers have a pretty easy work schedule - seven hours in a classroom a day, lots of half-days and holidays, and summer vacation to boot. What exactly DO they do for their money anyway?

I’ll tell you what they do. A little bit of everything. All...at...once...

Making sure the kids get their breakfast. Making sure they get their lunch as well. Lesson planning. Creating meaningful activities from scratch. Modifying those activities to meet the needs of all kids. Disciplining kids. Counseling kids. Assessing kids. Calling parents. Attending meetings. Breaking up fights. Directing traffic. Cleaning up messes. Bandaging cuts from recess. Handing out mints to a child with a sore throat. Holding a trash can while a child pukes. Buying pencils and paper and glue sticks and scissors and books and anything else that the school budget cannot support. Smiling all the while a child talks back and then again as his parent yells that you are picking on her baby. Staying late to tutor struggling readers. Going home with only a few hours left to spend with your own family before they all go to bed and leave you working on tomorrow’s plans until you start to fall asleep at the computer.

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