Thursday, October 17, 2013


1) I get bored easily and a fresh blog look can often bring me back to the keyboard. You're welcome.

2) I modeled a love for books with all of our children and--as a teacher of middle and high school English--I'm called upon to practice what I preach. Unfortunately, the demands of my job don't allow for reading anything pleasurable between the hours of  5:45 am until 6:00 pm, which are the hours when I'm most likely teaching or grading. After 6 I'm trying to eat, take in a yoga class or sleep. Today I took a "personal day" which entailed two doctor's appointments, paying bills, doing dishes, grocery shopping and attending a mid-day yoga class. Also? I read. Some. It was lovely. Because I did not go to work.

3) I love the show "Parenthood", but I don't think Kristina Braverman should run for mayor of Berkeley on the Education platform because I'm bored with that plot line, but in real life it's realistic. Want to know why? Because politicians don't know crap about schools and they only wind up making stuff worse. The only people who have any influence to move shit around are parents, which is unfortunate and the reason for that is because districts are deathly afraid of lawsuits. Want to turn on-level literacy classes into a hot stew of varying abilities/diagnoses/learning levels where only one teacher is expected to serve everyone? Ask a parent. So you say downtown hasn't addressed the broken HVAC issue at your school? Ask a parent (because you know damn well they don't care if the teachers are uncomfortable). Want to bring a visit to the modern art museum to a grinding halt because you're afraid that your baby might see a picture of a naked body? Ask a parent. I could go on...but I won't. Whining makes me tired. And I'm okay with somebody addressing the temperature controls in my classroom.

4) Growing up I watched "Room 222" on ABC and dreamed of teaching at Walt Whitman High. I never suspected that I would be teaching high school level English years later in a futuristic building where kids would never know know who Walt Whitman was were it not for their enthusiasm for Walter White aka Heisenberg.

5) I dreamed about Islamic Jihadists last night and how they were attacking random suburban neighborhoods with guns. In one dream I saw that they had killed Walter White. I really need to watch what I eat/drink before I go to bed.

6)  Turning the pages of an e-book is not the same thing as turning them in a real book. Maybe that makes me a dinosaur.

7) This year is so much better than last year as far as school goes. I have some awesome students and my teacher-peeps are wonderful. However, I've traded my wonderful former principal for one whom I don't trust and parents who "helicopter" constantly if they think their baby isn't being served as one might a reigning monarch of a European principality.

8) I am the oldest person in the English department.  In many ways it makes me smarter, but it also makes me feel self-conscious. Especially when I look in the mirror.

9) I  don't know how to end this post. Someone help me.


  1. I used to tell people the worst part about teaching high school was the parents. No joke. Consequently, I try super hard to be the exact opposite of that kind of parent now.
    Good for you to take that personal day and just take care of yourself.
    Those helicopter parents need a dose of just the facts, stats and reality.

  2. Funny, I am a parent, but I have to agree with you that parents are the worst. Parents are the reason I wouldn't even consider pediatric nursing. When my kids were in grammar school, they were in a Spanish immersion program that attracted all the high maintenance parents. They were so bad that the two teachers actually called us all to a come to Jesus meeting and told us to cut t out. And then a parent raised her hand and suggested the teachers organize a "colonial dance."

  3. In the final analysis, it was the parents that made me retire when I did. It is a terrible realization, as a grownup and a professional, that everyone else is your boss and you are no one's. Teaching's best years are far behind it.

  4. Best part of teaching at a German school is the fact that we are all treated like professionals. I work part-time (which I also did in the US for a while when the boys were younger) and was stunned to discover that no one wanted me to sign in, sign out, or otherwise prove that I was where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there or that I was really and truly earning my pay (which is also significantly more generous than it was in the US). It was just assumed that I, as a professional, would do what I was supposed to do without anyone requriing me to check in and out - and guess what? I do!. My colleagues and I work just as hard as our US counterparts, but the general attitude and mood is far different from anything I've experienced since I started teaching in 1990. The parents, of course, will always be there, and well-to-do European expat parents are quite involved - and vocal - about their kids' education, but in the German system (even in a private school like this one) the teacher has the final say and the administrators (who also teach at least one class per semester to keep them real- how novel!) back them. Lawsuits are much more difficult and expensive to bring in Germany, and the constant threat of one for any tiny thing does not hang over everyone's head like it does in the US. I'm going to have a really hard time going back to a US classroom after 4 years in this environment. Sigh.


Be nice. It's not as hard as it sounds.