More Than Passports

What is an American? What did you learn about America from the book you read this summer? By your own definition, how American are you? Write for five minutes without stopping. Be prepared to share! Honors American Literature, 5 September 2016 Familiar scratch of pen and paper, familiar slant of morning light through familiar second-floor…

My Doorways

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald This quote, snatched far out of context from a tense scene of The Great Gatsby, makes its rounds every September. And while I agree, as much a lover of fall as any girl who likes sweaters, hot drinks and orange leaves, for…

The Adventurous Class of 2016

Five students are finishing their final on this cool Monday morning, and I’ve already taken down all the posters and curtains, collected the books and graded my final coursework for the quarter. Nothing left for this teacher to do but post this year’s end-of-year letter, finishing nine hilarious months with a truly unique group of…

College Essays

Write a college entrance essay. You will design the essay yourself, based loosely around one of these two questions: What has made you who you are? What do you care most deeply about? College Essay assignment 2015 I’m in the library today, getting in the squats demanded by the pregnancy gurus as I bounce up…

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…

Days on Days

“Snow is falling, snow on snow…” “In the Bleak Midwinter,” Christina Rosetti It’s been snowing for two hours in Kandern. Apparently, two hours of steady snow is all it takes to transform the town from dingy winter to snowglobe splendor. It wasn’t promising when it began, this storm, just a few errant flakes escaping the…

The Learn’d Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer, When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me, When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them, When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room, How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick, Till…

Dream Job

Future Math Teacher meets me in my office after school. She and a partner are cooking dinner for Timmy and me tonight, a project for their Independent Living (once called “Home Economics”) class. From here, we’re going to shop for the evening at both of Kandern’s grocery stores, then home so that they can prepare the…

Rewrites

“So, what’s up with this paper?” my students ask, wafting in from the hall and settling in their desks with a nonchalance only possible after lunch, when a free afternoon beckons and “we can only handle school if it’s relaxed” is the motto of the hour. Don’t ask too much of us; it’s sixth period….

Leaving The Woods

“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand… Our life is like a German Confederacy, made up of petty states, with its boundary forever fluctuating, so that even a German cannot tell you how it is bounded at any moment.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden…