What do you wish teachers knew about your chronic illness?

CALLING ALL CHRONICALLY ILL STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES! I was a high school English teacher before a severe lupus (a chronic autoimmune disease) flare took me down. Now I help students and their teachers understand each other and find useful strategies… Read More

Wherever We Go…

I attended Back-to-School Night at my daughter’s high school last night.  It used to be my school, too; I taught English there for seven years. But last night I went simply as a mom. After almost two years,… Read More

Generally Speaking

I caught a glimpse of him yesterday as I unloaded my grocery cart onto the belt. Five foot two inches and unable to see over the magazine display, I waited for the line to move up to see… Read More

Hiding from 9/11

Facebook is both a horror and a communication miracle. Most status updates have to do with the minutiae of our daily lives: comments on the weather, hangover declarations, to do lists, etc. Some touch on more meaningful subjects,… Read More

As Summer Hums to a Close Around Us

The high school is crawling with teachers these days. We plan and prep, pile and stack. We shove desks in circles. Are they better in rows or in a U? We look for the arrangement that will capture… Read More


It would be safe to say that Meghan Cox Gurdon really stuck her foot in her mouth with her Wall Street Journal article “Darkness Too Visible” (June 4, 2011), in which she badmouths a genre she clearly doesn’t… Read More

Lessons from a 3 year-old

If you ever want to be here, now, take a three year old to the park. Normally, shortly after getting home from work, I rehash my day and immediately begin thinking about what I need to do next… Read More

Merry Monday

Yes, I’m absolutely merry on a Monday. It’s unusual, but I’m going along with it. The response to my last post, “I Don’t Say This Lightly,” featuring the work of a former student, and the  two previous posts… Read More

I Don’t Say This Lightly

One of the negative sides of being an English teacher is that I have to force kids to write. Sentences, paragraphs, essays, research papers… even poems, and most kids fight it the whole way.  Every now and then,… Read More

There is Risk Here

The persistent supervision of every Who, what, when, and where in my lifeIs not akin to a juggler keeping balls in the air.My son,My daughter,The students I govern each day,They are the matter I endeavor to keep aloft.Balls… Read More

It’s Painful to Watch You Sometimes

*** It’s painful to watch you sometimes, Muzzled by hormones and contrived, impossible images That teach you to shine by conforming and hiding your light. Your minds whirl while you wonder what they think You think About yourself…. Read More

Who Does That?

I knew something was up when a group of students’ heads simultaneously swiveled toward me for no apparent reason yesterday. The grins on their faces made it clear that the reason for their sudden attention had nothing to… Read More

Summer Goals Update

Summer is just whizzing by, so I thought I ought to examine my Summer Goals 2008 list and see how I’m doing. Let’s see: 1. Begin and finish a MAJOR landscaping project. We’ve actually exceeded my expectations for… Read More

Summer goals 2008 or Wishful Thinking

It’s the beginning of my summer vacation, and as usual I can’t relax. It’ll take a few days (or even weeks), but right now, I’m still on overdrive… and what do I do when I’m on overdrive? I… Read More

Words of Wisdom

On our last full day of school, my 11th grade students asked me if I was going to share with them some words of wisdom. Apparently, in prior years, teachers have taken the last day of school to… Read More

3 Basic Rules for Attending School Performances

My husband and I went to see our daughter in her elementary school’s talent show this evening – and believe me, I’m using the term talent very loosely – and once again I was amazed that people act… Read More


(Original post date: Saturday, April 12, 2008) Technology has had a profound influence on the way we talk. Pretty much everyone I know has accepted “google” as both a noun and a verb. In fact, there’s actually a… Read More

John’ Irving’s Owen Meany: A Review

(Original post date: Friday, February 15, 2008) Heeding the advice of an esteemed colleague and an esteemed sister-in-law, I forced myself to keep reading John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany. It was tough going. Irving just doesn’t… Read More

Lies I’ve Been Told Lately

(Original post date: Thursday, February 14, 2008) I wrote the essay but my dog ate my jump drive. We’ll be there between 9 and 12. I already cleaned my room. You said I could. Our classes are heterogeneously… Read More

Wiki Update and More

(Original post date: Friday, November 30, 2007) Okay, so the wiki assignments I set up for my students didn’t go exactly as I’d envisioned. I don’t know why I thought that anything would run smoothly when I added… Read More