The Best Conversation with My Son During an Afternoon Stroll

My son Jonah has autism and severe anxiety. It has been a lifetime of people asking me, “What’s wrong with Jonah?” There is always something, but he’s ten now, and it seems as if things are starting to change. We always go on long walks in the afternoon. Jonah recites his “monologues”. For those of…

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Question of the Day: “Are we all teachers?”

I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I was young, I propped up my stuffed animals and created imperfect spelling tests. I enjoyed grading them with my red marker. Stickers were placed on the outstanding ones. The methodical grading felt peaceful. A good teacher must believe in the ideas he teaches, but he…

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Question of the Day: “How did I fall down THIS rabbit hole?”

My newest obsession is Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a strange dystopian future which is marred and peppered with so many things from the past. To me it reads like The Scarlet Letter and Jane Eyre, a female perspective of a world gone mad. I’ve always connected it with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales,…

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Question of the Day: “What is the Butterfly Effect and why should I care?”

In Ray Bradbury’s 1952 classic short story, A Sound of Thunder, his main character travels through time to kill a dinosaur. He is cautioned. He is warned to stay on the Path. He is told that everything has been carefully laid out for his trip to kill a T-Rex millions of years before the dawn…

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Question of the Day: “Why do I prefer not to?”

Melville wrote a story about a non-conformist scrivener who decides one day to stop working. It is not my favorite short story, but if I am being honest, Melville is not my favorite author. Moby Dick took me three months, ten headaches, and the stamina of a champion to read cover to cover. But I…

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Question of the Day: “Why does the caged bird sing?”

Maya Angelo wrote a stunning narrative about racism and suppression called Why Does the Caged Bird Sings. This post is not about this book. It’s an honest look at the metaphorical question of why something trapped and caged can still make such beautiful sounds. It is the book’s title that swirls through my mind because…

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Question of the Day: “What is Hope and is it a good thing?”

There is a famous line in Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Andy Dufrense is in prison with Red and they are discussing the future. Red, who has been in jail since he was a very young man, knows he will never make parol. He feels his fate and Andy’s fate are both sealed. They…

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Teaching 101: A true story from the pandemic

Thirteen students in front of me. Ten student icons blinking back. I am teaching a lesson on identifying signposts in fiction. An important skill as one reads for comprehension with the hope of developing critical thinking skills. Since the class is so packed, it is actually pretty easy to find students to participate and answer…

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Teaching 101: A throwback story from before the pandemic…

Thoughts from the past: I used to think that it is much harder for female teachers to get respect than male teachers, but this is not necessarily true.  All teachers, regardless of gender, need certain qualities to be successful and gain respect. It is possible to screw this up as a man or woman. In…

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Teaching 101: A lesson during a pandemic

In today’s lesson, you need to imagine you are in front of 13 teens. You have three computer screens. Each separate screen has its own function. One is connected to the whiteboard. One has the tabs for the students at home. One has assignments and notes. It is easier to toggle between three screens than…

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