‘I Told Him, I Said’

It's been a while since men at my school considered it appropriate to make a retirement speech suggesting that a male teacher was putting moves on a teenage girl. Ten years? Maybe longer. Maybe not so long ago. Not long enough. I heard them make such remarks and others. The promise of a better grade [...]


In the last week: band-tailed pigeons and Eurasian doves, Steller's jays and a single scrub jay, robins and goldfinches, red-wing blackbirds, song sparrows, hummingbirds, crows and ravens, bald eagles, red-tailed hawk, black oystercatchers, gulls, whimbrels, Canada geese and brown pelicans, and a mixed flock of semi-palmated plovers and dunlins (this latter with distinct dark bellies—I [...]


So yes, I know: buttercups and warm lights, the shadows on a polar bear and pollen. Lemon curd sauce and angel pie, the afternoon light glowing in the living room. Gold on my fingers, the tint of big leaf maples in September. Bananas, egg yolks, buttered corn. Caution signs, dandelions, honey bees. Even so. The [...]


The brain is a greedy organ*. I heard once that Einstein used the same energy when he was thinking hard that a marathon runner would be using about mile 25. I am thinking a lot these days. I am revising curriculum on the fly because my tiny writing class needs to become a more muscular [...]


Teaching is not like working at Taco Bell. Teaching is different. Teaching is the profession I love. But before I entered teaching, I had other jobs. When I was a college student, back when it was much easier to do so, I worked to support myself and pay my public university tuition and expenses. My [...]


When I became licensed as a K-12 Art teacher in 1976, I knew it was unlikely that I would find a job teaching students younger than high school age. Those little kids I worked with in my field experiences would never be mine for more than a few hours during my one-week assignment. Most districts considered [...]

‘Can We Talk About Race?’

I remember when I first understood that “Negro” had gone the way of “colored.” In the late 60s, I walked home from school and explained this to my mother: “Don’t say that word, ‘Negro’. Say ‘black’,” and because we were that kind of family, Mom and I discussed respect for a long time. Years later [...]