School Daze

“There are some imaginary solutions, but no real solutions.” – Sal Khan   I heard him say that a while back and thought “By George, he’s got it!” It was in a lesson on finding zeros of polynomials, but his conclusion does have a broader validity, no? If you too are stressed about the lack […]

Lost and Found

When I first started teaching, I received the gift of a plant for my classroom. It joined me from school to school, from Washington State to New York State to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Then, when my dad went into an old folks home, I moved it to his room, where, after a few months, […]

Question Time

When I was doing teacher training in New York, one evening we had to attend a lecture by a panel of administrators. I remember two things. First was discovering the multiple galaxies of responsibility that principals have. (It’s bananas. I wouldn’t last a week.) Second was an Assistant Principal who ranted that if a student […]

Arma Virumque Cano

  It is my twentieth year of teaching, and I shall share my accumulated wisdom with you now. First, popping into colleagues’ classrooms and telling them to hold off on starting their lessons because there will be a fire drill momentarily is an indisputably hilarious April Fools’ joke. Second … well. This one is so […]

Special English

  Years ago I spent some time in Central Africa. I had a shortwave radio, but it was too complicated for me to figure out, and reception wasn’t always that great, so I’d listen to whatever I could pick up. That’s how I learned to dread Voice of America’s Special English. It was like being […]

The Dummy

  After Tuesday, Gentle Reader, your attempted expiry in my presence may be less unwise. I’m going for my third CPR training. The first, about a decade ago, I made a hash of. I couldn’t keep anything straight. The instructor was very nice about it, and easily forgiven if he went home thinking the problem […]

Thanksgiving

    Last year, each Friday, I taught a double block of Science class. Early on it became apparent that if our sanities were to be maintained, the students and I would have to find something active and engaging to do. I put a request on DonorsChoose for some engineering kits. And on Giving Tuesday, […]

Thinking Fast and Slow

  In Science I teach that Earth has been around for a long time, and in Ancient Civilizations I teach that humanity has been around for a long time. Monday I’m taking the latter class out to the football field to recreate this video, that they might see which has existed longer:     Well, […]