He who causes darkness

“Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.”

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables


Speaking in Third Person

“Mike”: Miss, how do you speak in third person?

Me: Instead of saying, “I want this” you say, “Mike wants this.”

“Mike” (thinks for a moment): So, it’s like translating for yourself?

Me: I guess, a little…

“Mike”: ‘Mike’ wants to go to the bathroom.

Me: Sorry, ‘Mike’ can’t go right now.

“Mike” (gesturing to himself): ‘Mike,’ Mrs. Crumpett said “‘Mike’ can’t go to the bathroom right now.”

She never had no kids

Student 1 (seeing a picture of me with my niece and nephew): Miss, are them your kids?

Me: Those.

Student 1: Miss, are THOSE your kids?

Me: (interrupted)

Student 2 (quickly and with authority): They ain’t her kids. She don’t got no kids. She never had no kids.

Me: Well, geez, there you have it!

Excerpt from a textbook

“Step 1: At the beginning of the tutoring session, get the folder of tutor materials.
Step 2: Sit directly opposite and facing the tutee.
Step 3: Ensure that the tutor materials include record sheets, flash cards, blank cards, and pencils.
Step 4: Ask whether the tutee is ready to begin.”

There’s more steps and I’m sure they’d be valuable in my classroom; however, I want to take a moment to celebrate. I just learned a new word!

I never knew it was a homophone; previously, I always used it within the context of “He who smelt it, dealt it.” Yeah, I don’t think I want to really be sitting directly opposite and facing the ‘tootee.’

‘Tis better to have read of travel…

I am a walking advertisement for the powers of technology and medicine.

My life-long dream to time travel is incessantly thwarted. I find the lack of technological advances in this area frustrating. However, without modern medicine I’d be dead in a horrific 19th century middle-class tragedy of disease and work-enduced exhaustion.

I find it incredibly unfair that the pills, shots and vitamins keep me trudging through an existence where my hopes can only be dashed in order to keep me trudging!

If you see a smile on my face, it is because I read. I recognize that this is a rather pathetic germ-sensitive woman’s version of hopping into a time machine, but I gotta take what I can get. As the bard said, tis better to have read of travel than to never have traveled at all.

I should probably sell my books and start investing my money in something more worthwhile… you know, like searching for wormholes, cosmic wrinkles and secret wardrobes.

The Chair


For a year and a half my classroom was actually a glorified storage closet and I regularly was short chairs.  (Un?)Luckily, there was this wheelchair.  It was rickety and progressively lost bolts, but the students loved it!  Rarely was this gentleman or his buddies late because my policy was “first come, first seated.”  They called it “The Chair.”

It was amazing just how much classroom discipline revolved around The Chair–it afforded the student some mobility, which helped alleviate some anxiety and energy.  Impulsivity won over a few times, but the threat of taking away The Chair was enough to keep them in line most of the time.  It was amazing, actually.  If a student popped a wheelie, wheeled out of the room, or purposely ran into other students, then everyone lost The Chair for the rest of the class period. I rarely got any lasting complaints after wheelchair privileges were lost and most students only required a single warning.

It was a sad day when it finally lost one too many bolts and had to be permanently regulated to the back corner.

Move Over Books!


No, I’m not forsaking books… this article points to one of the fundamental issues with teaching in low-income urban schools: how to teach 21st century skills when the majority of the families do not have internet access at home?  Telling them to “Go to McDonalds, they have free WiFi” only goes so far (and it assumes that they can get to McDonalds in the first place!).

On the one hand, it excites me that there are two cities who are taking winning funding to accomplish a “WiFi Check-Out” system.  This is fabulous!  On the other hand, it saddens me that there are only two cities trying it!

Dumb questions


I have never wanted a t-shirt like this. Even if I did have this t-shirt, I would always resist the urge to wear it under another shirt only to rip it off at the opportune moment with a bear-like-growl-face.

If you believe that the “never” and “always” from above should be switched, then I know you understand and support my desire to also have t-shirts made that say, “I literally just explained that!” and “Did you try reading the directions??”

Study on gracefulness (a BOGO)

What girl is so brilliantly coordinated that she smashed her own foot while closing an iron gate and then jammed the pinkie toe of her other foot trying to get up from the floor?

That girl would be me.

 (…and a few days later…)

Me (making a huge production): So NO ONE is going to ask me why I’m limping around the classroom??

Students (mostly nonchalantly shrugging, only interested in their breakfasts)

Me (loud sighing)

Student 1: OK, Miss what happened…?

Me: It’s a long story…

Student 2: Can we make it our current event?

Me (laughing): No!

Student 2: Why not?

Me: Because I am not newsworthy!!

Student 3: But you are newsworthy to us!