Teaching

What a Sommelier, Antimacassar, and Xeroderma Pigmentosum Have in Common

“Xeroderma pigmentosum,” the announcer read.The audience of middle school students buzzed with anticipation at Purdue University’s Loeb Playhouse. The announcer paused and waited for the enthusiasm to wane before reading the sentence. Fifteen seconds later, the crowd cheered when the spellers on stage raised their hands because they’d correctly spelled …

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Speller Number Twelve

        After two weeks of serious posts, I decided it was time for a lighthearted one. This is a sample autobiographical essay I wrote for my middle school students.        “Are there any spellers at this table?” A man in a suit peered over wire-rimmed glasses and spoke with an academic tone …

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Encouragement for Teachers

Being a teacher is not easy. (Yes, I’m biased.) While I won’t deny the profession has some nice benefits, there are many things beyond my control lawmakers now expect me to control. Yet no matter who wins elections or what decisions legislators make, here are some principles I choose to …

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Unnecessary Roughness

The shriek of an imaginary football referee’s whistle reverberates through my mind after I chastise my forgetful student. My mental referee makes the call. “Unnecessary roughness. Fifteen yard penalty.” I should have been gentler. Though a football field isn’t a place to be gentle, players are penalized for unnecessary roughness. …

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