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Psychic Distress in Education

The sheer JOY of talking about something you love described by Donald Hall (and called “teaching”) in the essay “Coffee with Robert Graves.” (And I’ll admit that this is what has drawn me to the radio and interviewing authors and experts.) Everyone who loves teaching has the same experience: Someone asks a question; it’s something […]

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Writing Instruction Grounding Social Control

Those of us who have been teachers and/or wannabe authors before everyone was an author (see the note yesterday re: artists)–I know I’m treading on my commoner sensibility here, always a tension in me–remember there is a book by William Zinsser called On Writing Well.  I’ll confess that I own it and yet have never read […]

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To Dissect a Polemic: First, Examine the Polemicist

To Dissect a Polemic: First, Examine the Polemicist

Dissecting The Atlantic’s Reform Manifesto: Part IV Go to Part I; Part II; Part III “Why Kids Should Grade Their Teachers,” by Amanda Ripley I had an instructive moment in my education well after I left the educational institutions at which I’d been vacationing (“all work and no play,” right?): I was working at a bookstore, naturally, as I […]

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Discipline and Punish

Discipline and Punish

Maybe you’re not 44 and so are not conversant with the movie Reality Bites (its genesis and presentation 20 years past), but I am. The down-and-out 20-something “losers” (heed my punctuation, please) in that film did not exemplify me.  I had a job as an English teacher in a parochial high school in St. Louis, […]

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Instructed to Ignorance

I started out thinking I could assert that the school curriculum (the “what” of instruction) is irrelevant but that is of course not what I would mean to say. Rather, curriculum is ALL possible responses to all possible utterances.*  That means the space of instruction (fancy critical theory calls this the “scene”)–home, church, playground, friend’s […]

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Free Writing in a 6th Grade Class

In class today, in a free-writing period I offered this to the gods: If my throat were a cave would my words hang like bats? If my eyes were eclipses would pinholes reveal me? If my teeth were tombstones would they order the dirt? My “working papers” (drafts) accompany the post. Recently, my good friend […]

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Common Core Is Authority On Steroids

Peg with Pen wrote yesterday about a product offered by the designer of Common Core, David Coleman (more from me on that here, “Occupy Common Core Standards“). I recently had the unfortunate opportunity to examine a SpringBoard assignment, sent to me by a concerned parent with a child in seventh grade.  SpringBoard is the latest […]

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From Foreign Policy to School Systems

Recently I started working in our school system as a “preventionist.”  This is basically an aide position and paid that way.  The job posting required no degree and simply a GED as education level.  Preference would be given, though… All that was indicated otherwise was, “should be able to work closely with a literacy coach.” […]

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The Plunder Years

It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror — of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He […]

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Shorter, On Tenure

A teacher in any institution ONLY needs tenure if he/she plans to teach an antagonistic stance to the institution. A teacher does not need to TEACH the national economic structure; does not need to teach the use of primary technologies used in that structure.  These are de facto our “ground” of political, economic and social […]

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Glorifying War Shall Not Grow Old

Concerning War Movies (prompted by a conversation about Peter Jackson’s movie They Shall Not Grow Old). In J. D. Salinger’s […]

Cutting Down the Clouds

This winter they are cutting down our woods more seriously than ever,—Fair Haven Hill, Walden, Linnaea Borealis Wood, etc. etc. […]

Representative Texts from Hawthorne to Dickinson

In your daily busyness you are pressed for time to think and often choose instead anesthetization – watching any number […]

Between Hope and Defeat, History and Heaven

“God himself culminates in the present moment.” (Thoreau) What is “now” for? What if you “know” the future? Fairy tales […]

Absolute Solutions Necessary

Only two things to do: 1. zero out carbon emissions 2. exception: all technological and scientific labor exploring new solutions […]

Rachel Carson’s book had no real effect

Facing Global Climate Disruption and the End of Everything All At Once… David Wallace-Wells’ The Uninhabitable Earth tries very hard […]