It was Billie's 90th birthday party and we drove over 200 miles each way to attend. I have known her since 1969, but Gary has known her longer and she remembers him with great fondness. Back when I met her, Billie's hair was a curly mass of mostly-gray tied into pigtails. She was the picture [...]


There is a long tradition of public service in my family, and perhaps that's why. I scored a dozen essays yesterday and my students will all be disappointed with their grades. Nevertheless, they wrote better essays in two weeks than they did in two months just last fall. They haven't thought much about that yet, [...]


I taught high school beginning in 1976, and except when my sons were little, I taught in private and then public schools until I almost-retired a few years ago. I am grateful forever that I fell into teaching, that I was honored to know and work with thousands of people, many of whom remain my [...]


A message arrived this morning via email with the image above and the headline below: Why Teachers Make the Worst Students As a snarky high school teacher, here’s what I came up with: Teachers don’t make great students. The author offers a list of reasons teachers are bad students and she is pretty much spot [...]

“Weak as women’s magic”

I am a feminist deep down into my gut. I inherited my respect for women from both of my parents and from self-respect, and from my own experience that men and woman are more alike than different and equally deserving of respect as human beings. When I began seriously reading fantasy and science fiction as [...]


Friday, on my drive to work, I listened to an NPR interview with a high school senior whose sister was shot and killed last year. Asked if the death of his sister had altered his beliefs, he responded that his “support for the 2nd amendment” had not changed. This led me to wondered about that [...]


For many years I taught The Bluest Eye in the second term of Junior English. Chris Gilde taught The Color Purple in the senior year, another incredible novel about the black experience in the United States, and a provocative read, a beautiful read. He played jazz and introduced other cultural elements relevant to the novel. A [...]


Yes, you can have too many books. People who believe this is impossible? Well, that's fine for them. I have thousands of books in my house. My husband has a thousand more of his own. I only read about seventy books a year, plus newspapers online, stories and poetry in journals and, again, online. Sometimes [...]