Monday, April 16, 2018

Data Would Make a Terrible Teacher



Data would make a terrible teacher. Yes, in "All Good Things" former Lt Commander Data has become a professor, but that's years after we knew him on the Enterprise. The Data we know and love would make a terrible teacher, for the same reason he made a compelling character- he doesn't understand human emotion. Data knows everything there is to know, and what he doesn't know he can learn faster than anyone else on the ship (unless it's Riker learning a new ensign's room number). Data can relay all that information back to you. But, with a quizzical head tilt, he cannot understand why you don't get it. He can relay the information, but he can't relate to it.

So who on the NCC-1701D would make a good teacher? What can we learn about teaching from my Enterprise crew?

Some may answer Jean-Luc Picard, the best captain a ship named Enterprise ever saw. And it's hard to disagree. He's powerful, commanding, well-read, empathetic, loves history, and can play the Ressikan flute on the days the music teacher is sick. Oh yeah, also he can't stand being around kids. At all. As in, in the season 5 episode "Disaster" when everything goes wrong and everyone is trapped doing jobs they are not equipped to do (is this also the "You may now give birth" episode) the show traps Picard with three children. And for just a moment, he would rather fall to his death in a broken turbolift than figure out a way to survive along with the kids. There's a lot to love about Jean-Luc (just ask Vash), but he's not the best teacher. Not even, I'd think, at the university level because even though he loves his history, he'd be one of those professors who loves his subject so much that he doesn't realize he's talking straight past his students. However, you could get in his good graces by bringing him tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Riker also has qualities that would make him a good teacher, and others that disqualify him immediately. For example, he would probably have excellent relationships with the moms in his class, as well as those parents with no gender.* He's got an easy smile and the respect of those who work him him. Also, it would be fun to watch him sit down. But he's also hard on those under him, and not terribly supportive at times. Riker couldn't stand Barkley, for example, and how a character treats Barkley can be a litmus test for how good of a teacher they'll be. He also had trouble relating to the cadets and junior officers in "Lower Decks", which means he might forget what his students are going through. And finally, he might teach his students to play trombone, which is a deal breaker.

While we're on the subject of Barkley, Geordi also wouldn't make a great teacher. Like Riker, Geordi couldn't stand the insecure goofball when he met him and had no patience for his fumbling and stuttering. Geordi knows his ship inside and out, and solves problems creatively, though maybe a little creepily. You don't want Geordi teaching a class, he's more at home with his engines. I assume he could see what's written on the notes his students are passing without opening them up, which would be helpful.

Everyone's LOL choice would be Worf, but I don't think he'd be as bad as all that. Hear me out- Worf evolves a lot over the course of the show. Season one Worf, no, not a good teacher. But in season one Worf's response to literally anything was "Shoot it with a phaser." But then we get to "Lower Decks" and Worf drops this amazing bit of teaching.


I honestly love that scene, what she takes from it, and how he conveys it. Worf also actively tries to grow and get better. He's never a great father to Alexander, but he improves and finds ways to accept how his son is different and that he has to teach him the way Alexander needs to learn, which might not be the Klingon Way. Worf is also my favorite character, so I'm biased about all this because he'd also headbutt a parent into next week given the right motivation.

We're left with two main cast members- Troi and Dr. Crusher. I have to say I'm a little disappointed that the two most likely to be good teachers are the two women, but we can be honest and say that for as progressive as TNG was, it still put the women in the care-giver roles. (Except Tasha, but Tasha wouldn't make a good teacher because she'd die halfway through a lesson early in the year.)

Troi is an empath and a counselor. And honestly, if I had her at a school, I wouldn't put her in a classroom, I'd put her in the counselor's office. She would make an excellent teacher, with her ability to read the kid's emotions. But I think she might not be as strong as they would need sometimes. Yes, she learns to be stronger in "Disaster' (wow, the same episodes are coming up over and over), but a great school counselor is a gift. Come to think of it, you could transpose the whole crew into similar school situations and it would work. Picard as principal, Riker as VP, Geordi doing Maker classes, Data teaching logic and computers, Worf teaching PE, Deanna in the counselor's office.

Leaving us with the best teacher on the main cast- Doctor Beverly Crusher. Strong, smart, empathetic, with experience with children. Dr. Crusher would be the teacher everyone learned the most from. She also was willing to put Picard (and anyone else) in place when needed. She can feel the emotion of a moment while also moving through it to do the job. She is confident in herself and knows that sometimes it's the world that's mad, not you. She took the time to teach Data to dance, and when Data downloaded a program to dance technically right she knew to tell him that technically right isn't the same as dancing well. Dr. Crusher knows that data isn't the end, but it is a tool she can use to do her job. I want to be in Dr Crusher's class.

Honorable Mentions-

Keiko O'Brian- She ends up being a teacher once she and Miles depart to Deep Space Nine, but she only gets an honorable mention because she's a botanist who decided to become a teacher because the station needed a teacher and how hard can it be? I hate that trope.

Guinan- Not a regular cast member, but more regular than Keiko, Guinan the bartender probably would actually be the best teacher on the ship, because that's often what her job was. She'd smile, tell a little story, and let the other crew members figure out their problems. She was also hundreds of years old, so she knew what was up. I'd also like to be in Guinan's classroom.

Q- Q would be The Greatest Teacher Ever and also The Worst Teacher Ever, often at the same time. He hates the rules, can't stand people who don't understand him, is constantly condescending and mocking, once asking Worf, "Eat any good books lately?" And yet, you know Q's class would be Can't Miss. 

*The Outcast is an outstanding episode with a dark ending that should have gone all the way with the casting of J'naii but does a lot for being a show that came out in 1992. 

If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird TeacherTHE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Here and Listen by Sarah Windisch

**guest post by Sarah Windisch*

From up here on my soapbox
Where it’s clear that everyone
Is a musician
Artist
Dancer
Poet
It’s so easy for me to brush off
The fears you have as
Excuses:

What if someone hates it?
What if someone hates me?
What if it’s not very good?
What if it’s actually really good?
Poetry isn’t for me.
At least not the me you know…

And then:

Why does it have to be in verse?
I think rhyming is the worst.

Or maybe:
This free-verse stuff is just
Lazy
Prose.

I guess that maybe I need to
Hear AND
Listen,
But only if you
Slip off those shackles
And come
To
Play.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Communicating About The Big Test At The End



Like most classes at this time of year, my kids are about to embark on that wonderful stretch of time known as The Big Test At The End. In schools across the country students will be bent over screens, logged into secure browsers, and take whatever their state's version of the big standardized test is.

No one likes this. There's not one teacher who says, "I can't wait for The Big Test! It's so fun." No, we all want that time for ourselves. Some of us hate it more than others. I am not in the Vehemently Hate group. I can't be. I have to give this test. I could hate it all I wanted, but then I'm spending a good chunk of time doing something I hate. So I choose to tolerate it. Railing at my principal is complaining at the waiter because your food isn't seasoned right. The Test isn't her choice either. She's doing her job too, because sometimes in teaching, in the moment, we've got to Do Our Job. On our own time we speak up and argue against what needs to change. Telling the kids how much I hate something is the opposite of motivating. It's like parent conferences when the parent say, "Well I was never good at math either." Awesome, thanks for that.

At the end of the day, unless their parents opt out, I have to give the test and the have to take the test. This is a hoop we're all jumping through together. When faced with something like this the choice is not to jump or not to jump, but how do you jump? How do you sell it to the kids? How do you sell it to yourself? Because, remember, I don't like this and I look forward to the pendulum swinging in the other direction, so I need to convince myself too.

I sell it two ways- Mockery and Making It No Big Deal.

First, I rarely call it the OAKS test, to my kids or otherwise. It's The Big Test At The End. I'm gonna make fun of it. That's how I deal with things. It's also how Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 gold medal winning US hockey team, dealt with the unbeatable, intimidating Russian team. He would show pictures of the Russians and make fun of them during team meetings, David poking at Goliath until he wasn't as scary. We all get a script we have to read, full of test directions. "I will now read you the directions for this section of the test." I read these to fidelity and by the rules. But with a look, a glance, a flourish, overplaying the importance before I start. Let the pressure off. I could sigh, sending that energy into my kids. I choose to smile.

Second, the Big Test At The End is No Big Deal. Sure, it is to some and in some ways. It is to the district and the state and the school, and I care about it as much as I should. But I'm not gonna send any of that energy into the kids. There's this terrible comic, which I hate so much I'll only link to but not post, that depicts everyone in the education chain sweating and stressing over a kid testing. No. Newp. I refuse. I admit that even though I talk a big game there's still a part of me that sweats and worries about the test, because of how its treated in education right now, but I hold it inside and keep it in perspective. I constantly talk to my kids about keeping it in perspective. It's No Big Deal. To demonstrate how I communicate this, I am going to share the letter I send home to parents and guardians on Big Test Eve.

Parents and Guardians of Room 17,
As I’m sure your children have mentioned, we are about to start the process of what I like to call The Big Test At The End and what the school calls OAKS. This week will be the science test, and the follow weeks will be Language Arts, Math, Language Arts Performance Task, and Math Performance Task. The Performance Task tests are less questions but more combining of knowledge into a few big questions.

I want to stress this very strongly- While the state and the district feel the Big Test At The End is important, is it not something I want to worry our kids. As I tell the students, I want them to do their best on it not because it’s this Big Important Test, but because the expectation in our class is that we always do our best on anything we do. Students should come to school rested and ready to go, but again, that’s always been the expectation. 
These tests don’t measure everything that our kids know and how a student does on a test certainly does not reflect who our kids are, and I work hard to make sure the kids understand that. As I said, we take it as seriously as it deserves and we do our very best because that’s who we are as learners. It will be difficult, but hopefully we’ve learned that challenges can be overcome with perseverance and critical thinking.
Testing time will only be one hour a day, maybe an hour and fifteen minutes. It will not eat our whole day and Mrs Farmer and I will be working hard to ensure that our students are still learning in the fun, creative ways we have been trying to do all year. Just like the test does not define our students, it also does not define our classroom.
Please let me know if you have any questions. My email is ____.

-Doug Robertson and Kristine Farmer

Please notice that I repeatedly stress that my expectations for student effort on the test is high not because it's The Test, but because we always do our best. So I expect no less. That doesn't mean kids should worry, because it's nothing new. I tell the parents that yes, we will be testing for about an hour every day for a few weeks. But it's only an hour. I have them all day. I am good at this. I will not let one long hour determine our entire day. I set the tone. My kids set the tone, but we can all admit that the kids follow the lead of the teacher. I refuse to believe otherwise, because if that wasn't true then I would have no explanation for why I have the weirdest group of kids in the entire school every single year.

A leadership characteristic that I love, one that I try to cultivate whether I'm teaching, leading a professional development, or running a committee, confidence. Not hands-on-hips Superhero Confidence. More a sense of "I got this. We got this." A smile. A joke. A breath and a pause. We got this. Be it a writing assignment, a Big Test, or a maker project.

We got this. Because we always got this. None of this is new to us. We put in full effort, because that's how we live.

If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird TeacherTHE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Googling Fictional Characters



"Mr Robertson, can I google what Shiloh looks like?"

"Huh?" (side note: "huh" is a much more common teacher response to student questions than we admit, and for good reason- kids ask bonkers questions sometimes)

"For the project, we are making Shiloh and we want it to be right."

This is where that Flow Chart Of Responses that lives within every teacher's brain lights up. What to say, what to say. Can't go down that path, never go down that path. This one? Hmm, perhaps clarity is required.

"Shiloh is a fictional dog, the story is made up. He doesn't exist."

"Right, but what does he look like?"

This, at its core, is a reading comprehension problem right? Which still makes it my problem, which means I still need to teach it. The student could, in theory, google what Shiloh looks like. Google will kick back the cover of the book, which has a picture of the titular dog on it (along with a boy that looks like a young Matt Smith). But that's not actually what the dog looks like, is it? That's the nature of a novel, you never really know what anyone looks like, even if the author wastes a bunch of words telling you what a character looks like. We, as readers, learn through reading or are taught explicitly that it's our job to help paint the picture. A novel is a cooperative effort. We are constantly filling in the blanks. That's one of the reasons movies based on books can be so frustrating- no one looks right! Another, bigger, more mature reason is that the studio ruins a perfect piece of literature (looking at you, The Dark Tower which was perfectly cast and terribly written).

My job then is to help the student go through the book and find the parts where the dog is described at all. Maybe a breed is mentioned, or a color. We can google those things. She can be as specific as possible without literally googling the fictional animal.

OR...Don't know what a beagle looks like? That's ok, neither did Charles Shultz, didn't stop him. Draw what was in your head. I help the student overcome her concern about her drawing skills (or skillz, as none of the kids say). I stress that the point of the assignment is not a photorealistic dog but that her finished product in some way represents what she thinks is the most important part or main idea of the story.

But Doug, some of you say, you should give her greater choice and then she won't have to draw at all. Reader, you are seeing one assignment of hundreds, and limited choice allows for great growth when presented properly. She can try to draw the dog this time, and in that struggle learn.

When my students ask to google things like this, things that should have grown in their heads, I tell them no. Google is not the fount of all knowledge. Use what you have first. Give me something else that you need to look up. If your students are anything like mine they could spend hours looking for juuuuust the perfect picture and then what? If you're a student I had one year, then you put your paper up to your Chromebook screen and start to trace with a very sharp pencil until your blue-haired teacher catches you at the last possible second and stops you. True story.

I get to teach my kids to trust themselves and to read deeper. Some of us haven't developed the ability to make a movie in our minds as we read. That's taught. We can't just assume that kids will do it. I've taught enough years to know that when I say, "You know how when you're reading you can see the book in your mind, almost like a movie," I've got a bunch of students with a look on their faces that says "Nope. No, I do not know that. I see words." Then I get to help them find the books that can be their movies. And I get to help them visualize and create those worlds. It's not enough to say it. It's too easy to reduce teaching to simple things like that. If I'm passionate enough about learning and make the room learner centered then learning will just happen. No, we are intentional. We are professional. Ve haff vays ov makink you theenk.

If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird TeacherTHE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Singles and Doubles Keep Us In The Game


A popular teaching cliche is, "It's a marathon, not a sprint."

That cliche doesn't work as well as its users want it to. Any distance runner will tell you that however difficult you imagine a marathon is, it's harder than that. There's a saying in distance running: "Run until you can't. When you can't run, walk. When you can't walk, make sure you fall forward." Distance running is all about pace and suffering and attempting to find the balance between the two. Then it’s about realizing there is no balance and embracing the suffering until you slowly lose your mind and experience the popular delusion known as a "runner's high," which is really just your mind giving up on you seeing reason and deciding to let you die in peace.

So, if we use “the marathon” metaphor to talk about teaching, we're implicitly talking about embracing the suffering and pain that comes with an endurance event. Words create thoughts and meaning, and as hard as teaching can be the mindset that teaching is finding a way to survive and pace out suffering is a negative, hurtful one. Teaching isn't a marathon.

But sports metaphors are fun and, while not perfect, scan fairly well. So, let's move away from marathons and sprints to something that better represents teaching: baseball. As American as apple pie, 4th of July BBQs, and taking voting rights away from people of color.

Teaching is baseball, and lessons are at-bats. Sometimes, we strike out. Sometimes, we knock a lesson out of the park. Most of the time we just want to get on base.

Baseball teams live and prosper by getting on base. Singles and doubles keep teams in games. It's a rare batter who steps to the plate looking to cream the ball, sending it in a beautiful arc into to the centerfield stands. And it's an even more rare batter who can actually do it. Odds are if you swing hard for the fences, you're gonna screw yourself into the dirt. In fact, the last time baseball fans got excited about a bunch of guys hammering homers, it turned out they were cheating.

We want to do the best for our kids. We want every lesson to be a home run, out of the park, fans up on their feet, fireworks shooting in the sky while their teammates mob them at the plate. How amazing would that be? What a teaching day. What a fantasy land. In the end, Mighty Casey has struck out.

Day-to-day teaching, the real work, isn't about home runs. It's not about those lessons that consultants and keynotes go on and on about. Those are great goals. Those are great to have in a pocket. But setting that standard every day and attempting a home run at every at-bat? You're gonna pull a muscle.

Baseball is a cumulative game. Base hit there, double there, maybe a walk, and you've got a win. Major league baseball teams play 162 games over the course of a season. If batters go cranking for the fences every single game, they aren't going to finish the season. Their muscles won’t tolerate that stress.

Players accept that. Good baseball players know the game is more important than their stat line. Maybe they didn't have the flashiest game, but they know the work is grinding out a few solid doubles that moves the team along. In a healthy, sustainable way.

ESPN helped popularize the highlight reel, a quick burst of all of the flashy awesome that happened during various games all over the league. Highlights out of context from the game are pretty but meaningless. The game is so much more than that. Because of this, I have major concerns about the connected nature of education. Not in an old-man-shouts-at-cloud, "You kids today with your twitters and your FacePlus" way, but in a, “what do we get when all we see is the highlights” way. When the conversation is so focused on those Big Lessons, the ones where you dress up and plan a ton for, what happens to the day-to-day lessons? Don't tell me every lesson is like that, every day. I'm teaching day-to-day. I've got a class of 31 fifth graders and a student teacher, plus a MakerFaire to plan, hoops to jump through, and assessments to grade. Because all that's real teaching. We should be sharing all that.

Encourage the home runs. Love them, they are super cool. Create experiences. But that's not the job. The job is to teach, to create lessons that build on each other. Lessons that grind sometimes because the grind of repetition makes learning into practice into habit. What comes after the home run?

Now, you might think I'm a cautionary teacher, slow to adapt and try new things. On the contrary. I’m a cliff jumper when it comes to teaching. I will jump off just about any cliff if I think I'll find a way to fly on the way down, or of I think there's strong student learning to be had at the bottom. But that's not day-to-day doubles-and-singles teaching. Jumping off cliffs all day isn't healthy. Eventually you misjudge the wind and become stuff on a rock. And I’m not jumping alone, my whole class is holding hands and trusting me, jumping with me. It’s irresponsible of me to repeatedly dash their learning against the rocks because I want the awesome lesson more than I want the learning.

Among the many factors that contribute to teacher burnout, Keeping Up has to be on the list. And the connectedness of educators and teachers contributes to that. It's on us to temper the home runs we share with embracing the on-the-ground, daily-grind teaching. To take a breath and celebrate doubles and singles. Moving kids around the bases slowly but surely. Supporting each other with high-fives and totally not-at-all weird butt slaps.

We should stop letting success and failure be dictated by people who aren’t in the game, playing every day, getting dirty, getting hurt, getting up to do it again. You know what a hit looks like in your class. Listening to an outsider’s look is one thing, but don’t let someone who isn’t picking up a bat be the final word what’s fair and foul.

Play hard. Look for runs and every opportunity to score. Celebrate the bloop singles that turn into doubles and triples somehow. All the while, know that those doubles and singles are advancing runners and adding up to a winning season. And it’s a damn fun game.

***
Post-Script- This metaphor works to the point, but it’s not a sports metaphor so it doesn’t fit in the post itself. 

To take a quick look at the other education metaphor that circles this, Moonshot Thinking is great. Aim high (don't tell kids if they aim for the moon and miss they'll land among the stars because that's bad science and you know better). But remember that we didn't decide to go to the moon and *poof* go. We exploded. A lot. Once we figured out how to not explode we edged into the upper atmosphere...nope, no death here. Guess we can do a lap and see if we die doing that. Nope, still ok. The landing is rough, what with the crashing into the ocean like a rock and all, but it's doable. Still not ready to go to the moon though. Now we practice the stuff we need to go to the moon. We do a bunch of laps around Earth running scenarios and procedures. Now we're ready. To fly around the moon, look at it, check it out. Then, finally, we land on the moon. That's a moonshot. 
***

If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird Teacher, THE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher.

Monday, March 12, 2018

March Madness (Now With More Madness)


It's March! Which means it's that time when people who watch college basketball (even peripherally) build brackets only to have them immediately destroyed by some freshman phenom no one has ever heard of before, and the entire internet hates Duke like they're the Patriots or the Yankees.

Not to get all Pokemon Go! on you, but this is probably a great cultural touchstone to build educational efforts off of . What can we, as teachers, make into brackets to have kids debate or vote on? How can we get creative with our bad selves and not teach our students about gambling nope nope nope, but the power of ideas, especially when there's a sixteen-person office pool riding on those ideas? Let's look at some potential brackets. I'm not going to build the entire however-many field because this is your project, I'm just giving ideas. What do you think this is, Teachers Pay Teachers?

I want to point out that I bet your lists will be better than mine and, if I was smart, I'd have asked Pernille Ripp and Jess Lifshitz to weigh in on these.

Children's Book Bracket
Have your kids make a list of 32 children's books, then debate how the plots, messages, and characters come together to form the best cohesive whole. (You can do this with Characters as well, of course)

Duke Stand-In- Charlotte's Web. Perennial favorite, classic.

Sleeper Pick- Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1-64. You know they'll pick this.

Who Should Win- Every Dr Seuss book. Don't argue.


Poet Smackdown
Who's collected worked best stand the test of time?

Duke Stand-In- Depends on the age of the students, but probably Dickinson or Angelou.

Sleeper Pick- 2Pac. Unless you have young kids. Then Shel Silverstein. And yes, I'm tickled to put 2Pac and Shel in the same section.

Who Should Win- You think I'm gonna say Seuss again, don't you? Well I'm not! But I'm gonna go with Poe because the dude's name is practically Poet so I don't really know how he could not win.


Book Settings
So many places, so little time. Who is the best. Again, depends on the age of your kids. Where would they rather go? Why? What would they do there?

Duke Stand-In- Narnia. Classic. There's a Jesus lion and a fawn and disgusting desserts.

Sleeper Pick- Hogwarts is the modern Narnia, so I'm not sure it's a sleeper pick any more. I've got kids super into Minecraft books right now, so that would probably do better than I expected. And maybe Coraline's Other Mother's house, choosen by the kid who was only half-paying attention.

Who Should Win- Hogwarts. They have magic.


Best Dystopia
Dystopian fiction is all the rage with "the kids" these days. They love them some bleak near-future settings, as they should since hey, look at the country. They're basically planning ahead. Also, how great is the title "Best Dystopia"?

Duke Stand-In- Panem is where it's at if you've got the right age kids. It's basically the modern example of dystopian literature for the youths.

Sleeper Pick- Forks, Washington. Twilight was dystopian, right? It looked dystopian in the previews. All grey and ugly and boring.

Who Should Win- Oceania. I just finished 1984 again and damn, that book is bleak and a little scary. No one did it better.


Best Number
I should have one of these in here for Math. And it's fun to tweak math teachers, quite honestly. So a best number bracket it is. Just pick 32 numbers. Then have the kids debate them...or something.

Duke Stand-In- 1. I mean, it's number one. It's the best.

Sleeper Pick- 7. Biblical. Prime. Feels good to say. Seven is sneaky.

Who Should Win- 19, because if you add up the two digits they almost equal 10, and that's pretty coo and rare. You don't see a lot of two digit numbers doing that.


Scientists
Create a big list of scientists, make the kids research 'em and choose who is the most important of them all. Make them fight it out, in a pit, with lions and stuff. Using science.

Duke Stand-In- Edison.

Sleeper Pick- William C Dement.

Who Should Win- Bill Bill Bill Bill Bill Nye, the Science Guy. Again, like Poe, he's got Science right in his name. And two TV shows. Did Madam Curie have two TV shows? I'd have to google it but I do not think she did.


I've gotten you started down the path. You are welcome. I think by now it's pretty clear I wanted to plant the idea of an educational bracket or two in your brains and then let your Teacher Madness go to work on it, mulling and churning until you come up with the best idea for your class and subject. Now I've gotta pick one, seeing as I wrote this whole thing. Maybe I'll make, nay let, my student teacher come up with one. Yes. That's what I'll do. I'm the best mentor teacher ever.

If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird TeacherTHE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher

Should Teachers Be Armed?

No.

No. You're a dangerous person with no ability to think critically or plan if that's your solution. 

How about dealing with the actual problem, which is easy access to guns? 

Arming teachers...you can tell that you never need to listen to a person's opinions ever again if that's what they think we should do. That non-thought immediately invalidates every other opinion that person has ever had and will ever have.

No. 

The solution to drowning is more water? The solution to being on fire is more fire?

I could bring up all the other concerns, like training and funding, but just by doing that I'd be giving credence to the brainless, zombie-like moaning that is "arm teachers". You know what, I take that back. At least zombies value brains. 

No. 

When someone brings up "arming teachers" to you laugh in their face. Loudly. Until they leave. Just point and laugh. There's no "discussing" things with them because they do not live on your planet. "But Doug, we should hear all sides." Nope. There are sides that we, as a culture, can all agree don't need to be heard. Like, for instance, "You know those people who spend all day surrounded by children, doing their best to create an environment of love and trust so that they may guide the growth and education of said children? Give those people the means to kill that entire room." See how ridiculous that sounds? Because it is. That's what those arguments all boil down to.

No.

Hell no.

No. 

Don't give these people air. Don't legitimize their anti-idea. Mock them. Treat them like the jokes they are. 

And vote every single coward who supports them out of office, wrecking their platform until they can hold meetings in a phone booth. Because phone booths don't exist anymore and neither should they.

No.

Now here's a silly video about this not funny topic.


If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird TeacherTHE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and the just released A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher