American Girls

I’m just going to say that “nesting” made me do it. Nesting, that biological imperative. That habit we share with creatures who spend their last days of gestation preparing a home for their coming little ones. That urge to go to Target just to look at small clothes and different shapes of pacifiers. That millionth…

Last Day Letter: Our Better Country

Ever since the student-teaching days, I’ve ended school with a letter. It’s something I remember loving in high school—the one time a teacher did it—these final written words that summed up a year. Now, I write as much for myself as for them, this summing-up providing my own version of closure. I started posting them…

The Civilly Disobedient

Is it ever right–ethically or morally–to break the law? Explain why or why not. -Honors American Literature journal question, Monday It’s always a good day when I get to stand on a chair. I sense that the students understand this, also, even as they mutter about being hustled, a few minutes into class, from their…

Angelina & The Lupine Lady

“That is all very well, little Alice,” said her grandfather, “but there is a third thing you must do.” “What is that?” asked Alice. “You must do something to make the world more beautiful,” said her grandfather. “All right,” said Alice. But she did not know what that could be. In the meantime Alice got…

The Canyon of Enough

Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. Proverbs 30: 8b-9 Thursday morning, the English teachers assemble in…

Professionally Curious

I’m walking in circles these days, dizzy spirals around the library under the rounded hangar ceiling of our school. Once in a while I’ll pause by a computer and a student, stopping to give advice or ask a question, but most often its a leisurely drift, digital eavesdropping on the eleventh-graders as they start their research…

Gluten & Gatsby

‘Tis the night before “school Valentine’s Day”–known by everyone else as Friday, or to the superstitious as Friday the 13th–and I’m baking cookies. Everyone, it seems, needs cookies tomorrow. There are some for my sixth period class, a tiny collection of eight students who managed to hold the best debate on whether Gatsby truly loved…

Chapters {76 Blue Hats}

Today is Commencement Day. After a hectic morning of pinning and adjusting mortarboards, searching for missing tassels, and ushering nervous graduates in to the earworm notes of “Pomp and Circumstance,” we watched as our 76 seniors, the Class of 2014, managed the many words and steps required to graduate from Black Forest Academy. They shook hands…

To The {Book} Fair

…I’m coming to get you, I hissed, as I entered the library like a man stepping into a freight elevator of science and wisdom. “The Literary Life,” Billy Collins It’s a busy Friday night at Black Forest Academy. Upstairs, the junior varsity boys basketball team plays one of their last home games of the season….

Richer Than Hemingway

“But then we did not think of ourselves ever as poor. We did not accept it…. We ate well and cheaply and ate well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.” A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway “Are you ready?” I ask my Period 3 Honors American Literature class as they file in,…