Building Relationships

A Teacher’s Presence

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He woke up crazy-early. 5 am to be exact. That in my opinion is too early for a little kid to be awake. And it was apparent by the way he behaved. Or didn’t, to be more exact. I brought a blanket and a pillow downstairs, hoping he would lie down and maybe–just maybe–fall asleep. […]

Life Lessons from Littles!

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How do you spell love? Literacy on little angel wings. Such joy, the most amazing learning experience of my life. Here’s my update, year two preschool, teaching kiddos emergent skills of reading and writing, well, a lot more than that. Never sure who’s teaching whom. A day in the passionate life, so to speak. Since […]

Long Time, No See

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Stocky kindergartener Leonard was sent to my office on the fourth day of school for hitting another little boy and for refusing to do his work. He was to return several more times that first month of school for similar transgressions. Visits with his mother were somewhat encouraging – and behavior problems subsided – but […]

Race Car Driver

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Valerie stood in my doorway and quietly tapped. “Here’s the file you asked for, Mr. Ramsey,” she said. “New boy, Gonzalo Pomelo, eighth grade, Mrs. Duarte’s homeroom.” I took the file and thanked my secretary. As I opened to the first page, she added, “By the way, he’s here in the lobby waiting to see […]

Little Things: Why I Teach

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Throughout my career, I’ve been asked numerous times, “Why do you teach?” This question is usually followed by one or more comments along the lines of observations of poor pay, crowded classrooms, lack of motivation on the part of students, lack of involvement on the part of parents, and lack of understanding on the part […]

Fresh Start

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The side door to the administration building swung open. I could not see this from my little office within, but I certainly heard the shouting of the eighth grader whose angry hand had nearly wrenched it from its hinges. “I hate her! I hate her! I can’t stand this place! I hate this school!” The […]

Rico Revisited

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There is an old saying among teachers that the students we teach are only in our classrooms a year but in our hearts forever. I’ve learned over and over again the truth in that adage. “Rico” was a cute little boy in kindergarten during my last stint as an assistant principal. He always made it […]

Each Other

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My daughter had not lost a tooth in what seemed like years. So when it came time to leave her a gift from the Tooth Fairy we weren’t quite sure what to leave. So we hid a five dollar bill under her pillow. We each thought that was a reasonable amount. To backtrack, the night […]

The New Kid

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The new school year was in full swing with the first month nearly history when the new kid arrived. The smiling spiky-haired eleven-year-old bounced from class to class easily making friends with all he encountered. He was quickly absorbed into the close-knit sixth grade class. Happily, he bounced throughout the day…everyday. His reading teacher stopped […]

Is There a Pill?

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“Mr. President, the pilot has announced he will be landing the plane in Dallas in ten minutes.” “You know, I don’t have a good feeling about this. Tell the pilot to turn the plane around and head back to Washington. Okay?” Such was a typical exchange between me and Luke, an eighth-grade special needs student. […]