Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Reflective Teacher Day 10: Sharing....

      Sharing is caring. That's what some purple dinosaur said once. I was looking forward to this post, as it is kind of a fun one. goes:

Share 5 Random Facts about Yourself

1. I have four toes on my left foot. I was born that way. No it does not make me a better swimmer and yes, I hate flip flops....half my foot falls off!!! (Mandels it is!)

2. My wife and I got married in the Great Smokey Mountains and a black bear showed up to the rehearsal dinner wanting some BBQ. You should have seen people run. It was funny.

3. I love video games. I have played them since the Atari and the Commodore 64. (Gotta love Zork) Yes I have an Xbox One and NO you cannot have my gamertag.

4. I have a dog named Sammie. He is a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier who has hair not fur (I am allergic). He thinks he is a person. Most. Spoiled. Dog. Ever! (He is lucky that he's adorable)

5. I read voraciously. Right now I am reading the second compendium of the Walking Dead. I hope I am not ruining anything for October.

Share 4 Things from Your Bucket List

1. I want to attend a English Premier League soccer game in England.

2. I want to  go on an investigation searching for Sasquatch.

3. I want to visit New Zealand, Australia and Japan. (Hey if I am out that way, I am hitting ALL 3!!)

4. Visit the Bialowieza Primeval Forest in Poland. It is one of the oldest in the world.

Share 3 Things You Hope For This Year

1. I hope that my students in Contemporary World Issues like the class (new prep) and learn something as well. I want to build that up as a class.

2. Both of my children (Gavin 12 and Lily 15) have a good school year. Both are in new buildings (junior high and high school respectively) and it's an adjustment for them.

3. I hope that Boysetsfire, one of my favorite punk bands, does a US tour that is longer than 5 gigs in Philadelphia.

Share 2 Things That Have Made You Laugh or Cry as an Educator

I think I will start with the laugh first. The tear-jerker cry was one of the more difficult things I have had to deal with as a teacher. But let's laugh first....

The Laugh: I started my career at Shore Junior High School. (S/O to my Shore peeps!) It's a middle school now but was a 7-9 building when I taught there from '93-'97. (Yes, I am old) I was teaching World Geography to 7th graders and we were studying Japan. I thought it would be a good idea to have them read an article about how different Japanese schools are compared to the one they were sitting in at the moment. The article said that teachers in Japan (at the time) were allowed to hit students, and routinely did so. Much of the time the teachers in Japan would hit students for things like being slow to leave the class for a fire drill. So I told them, "Imagine me going up and down the rows from the first row hitting students in the back of the head. Whack. Whack. Imagine what fear that would instill." So I am walking around pretending to hit students and saying whack! as I go. Just then, a pass comes in from the main office for a student. Without thinking I say, "Hey you interrupted my whacking!" I had 7th graders. What was I thinking? The whole room lost it in laughter and then I lost them. New guy on the block mistake. From that point forward, I was cautious in my word choice.

The Cry: Teaching is about relationships. Creating them with students, understanding where they come from, what they like, etc. As I have said before, when you build those relationships and understand them as people, it is amazing what they will do for you. A few years back at the high school a student was added to my class by a counselor that I know pretty well. She talked to me about Buford (name changed) because she knew me well enough to know that I could adjust to his home life (which was beyond not good....he was living with a family friend) I have to admit, it was difficult to adjust but in building that relationship with Buford, I was able to keep him on track and get him to pass my US History class as a junior so he could graduate the following year. The school year ended and we parted ways. What I did not realize about Buford is his long struggle to stay clean from the use of drugs. While I vacation, I received a text from a friend that he had overdosed on heroin just a few days prior. I was floored. I had never had a student pass away like that and certainly not one that I had worked so closely with one on one. I cried that night. It took me several days of staring at the ocean to recover and I still have a picture of him in my desk drawer as a reminder. I don't know why it hit me so hard, but it did. Rather than discouraging me, it reminds me that no matter what, you have to continue to try, to reach students at all costs. It has an impact you just might not see it.

Share 1 Thing You Wish More People Knew About You

1. I investigate the paranormal.....(I will leave that hanging there....) 


  1. Hmm, you and I could have a great lunch time discussion on Sasquatch, the moon landing and other things I have many questions about!

  2. You live in Mentor and you taught at Shore. I went to Shore Jr. High in Euclid, but it's been an accordion museum of sorts for many years. We can't be talking about the same place, can we?
    I'm sorry about your student. When you've taught for a while, it does happen. The public though, has no idea how much that hurts. Becky @CronkREADWRITE

    1. No Shore Junior High is in Mentor although I do live in South Euclid. And thanks about my student and you are right, people don't understand. It's like they are your children, but not. But it sure hurts like they are....

  3. Your laugh made me think of the classic new PE teacher mistake - "Hold your balls!" I'll still use it to get a laugh every now and then.

    1. Oh my....that's a good one. I don't know how you teach health (if you do). That would be rough!