Kindergarten? Kindergarten. Kindergarten! If you had asked me a year ago the grade level I’d be least likely to teach, that was the answer. But here I am: In a kindergarten classroom — and loving it. It seemed kindergarten students were so needy. “Mr. Walker, can you tie my shoe?” I spend lunchtime tearing open … More Kindergarten: Finding a classroom home during students’ Age of Exploration
“My name is TRACEY. You should know that. I’ve worked here for six years.” Embarrassment crept up the back of my neck as I mumbled, “Sorry.” It didn’t matter. she was quickly out of earshot. I immediately flashed back to a memory of my father — and just as quickly wondered if my daughter would … More By any other name, subtle race stereotypes still haunt us
First day of 5th Grade. A new school year. A new, grown-up “tween” world view. A new uniform shirt color. She told me at breakfast this morning she felt nervous, an unusual admission on her part. Reason? She didn’t know who (which friends) would be in her home base/fine arts and content classes. She will … More First day of 5th Grade: A year to learn about yourself and make (good) memories that last
What’s bothering her? She’s barely 10 years old. What weight of the world is she carrying? Is there something big going on in her life, or is she simply submerged under a landslide of minor injustices and irritants? Tender queries reveal two answers: “No,” and “Nothing.” Stomp. Slam. It must be hard growing up in … More When her feelings turn from tender to toxic, best strategy is keeping my mouth shut
10 years old. Double digits. Whoa. I remember standing in the upstairs hallway of the house I grew up in, contemplating my own 10th birthday. “A decade old,” I told myself. Sounded pretty momentous. Now, the 10th birthday has played itself out once again, but instead of 1968, it’s 2017. My memory slowly records what … More Turning 10: A milestone among memories — but hoping she’ll never outgrow her inner child
I call it “in the zone.” Pretty vague, I guess. For me it means you’ve reached the time of your life when it’s no longer a shock when one of your peers — even someone younger than you — dies of “natural causes.” Hold on a minute. What does this have to do with my … More Saying goodbye to Ted — and realizing death among peers has become a natural part of life
It’s deja vu all over again, as Yogi Berra used to say. Howzat? We recently marked the 100th anniversary of the passage and implementation of the Immigration Act of 1917. That’s when we slammed the door on immigrants from the “Asiatic Barred Zone,” a sprawling region that included Saudi Arabia, most of China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, … More The biggest threat (choose one): Muslim extremists, nuclear attack — or our own guns?