Friday, December 6, 2013

The Weird Teacher's Classcast Lesson 1: BE a Teacher

I've made a YouTube video. This is planned as the first in a weekly series where I talk about various education topics.
Lesson One is called: BE a Teacher

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Teacher is Proud to be Weird- Mail Tribune 11/13/13

In preparation for my Bloomsbury Books reading I contacted the local newspaper, the Medford Mail Tribune. I was hoping they would run and ad at the least about the reading and maybe do a small story since local author/local teacher seems like a pretty good human interest topic.
Well, last Friday was a Teacher Work Day at school, and I was working away on report cards in a t-shirt and jeans when the phone rings. It's our secretary calling to let me know a reporter from the Tribune is on the line wanting to talk to me. Good thing there are no kids. She gets transfered over and we have a nice 20 talk. By, "nice 20 minute talk"  I mean she asked one question, "Tell me a little about the book and what weird things you do," and I talked for fifteen minutes. When I stopped to ask if she had other questions she said no, if she had anything else she would have stopped me and I was doing fine. Oh no, I thought. I'm not sure exactly what I said though.
She wanted to come take pictures and I said that's fine today because there are no kids. She replied that kids make the pictures more interesting. "I've never worked at a school that was ok with the news taking photos or video of students," I told her. "I'll call the superintendent and see what I can do," she replied.
Of course. Call Cynda, the superintendent, to talk about the story you're doing on the teacher she hired three months ago. I am Low Profile Man.
It turns out Cynda was very excited by the idea of the story and photos, gave the ok for the paper to come to school Tuesday, the next day we had students. Schools have been getting a lot fo negative press recently and Cynda figured any positive press was a good thing.
So Tuesday during language arts the reporter and a photographer came in and did their thing. I warned my kids ahead of time and they were as no distracted as a group of students could be by the giant camera and guy walking around taking pictures.
The story ran the next day, too late to help bring people to the reading, but hopefully will still lead to book sales. My only complaint about the article is that she doesn't mention where to find the book or the book very much at all. A few mentions would have been nicer. Oh well, can't really complain.
I've included the links below and the full text of the article as well. Many thanks to Sanne and the Mail Tribune for their support.


Teacher is Proud to be Weird
White City Elementary School's self-admitted "weird teacher" flourishes his short yellow wand, using the tip of its little, white-gloved hand to emphasize the syllables in the day's vocabulary lesson.
"Cau-tious-ly," Doug Robertson says, flailing his arms. "You don't just hold scissors and wave them around. You handle them cau-tious-ly."
Next word — Ap-pre-ci-ate.
"Use it in a sentence," Robertson challenges his charges, in a booming voice.
Robertson's theater arts minor stands him in good stead as he deftly trades his wand for a mustachioed yardstick and wanders between aisles in his third-grade class.
"I appreciate your smile," says 8-year-old Katheryne Galea.
Robertson cracks a faux scowl and immediately denies smiling. Ever.
"I never smile," he says, with a twinkle in his eye. "I don't know what you guys are talking about."
Indeed, several scowling images of Robertson are plastered high on the classroom walls, staring down on the 20 students.
"Children are ridiculous and fantastic," Robertson says. "I tell them I'm mean and that I never smile. And, of course, I do, so it cracks them up."
Robertson's teaching philosophy for keeping students engaged in a carefully controlled-yet-chaotic classroom is laid out in his self-published book, "He's the Weird Teacher ... and other things students whisper about me."
"You need to be kind of an actor. You need to make it better, make it interesting. Fractions are not necessarily fun," he says.
In his 259-page primer, Robertson, now in his eighth year in education, mixes schoolhouse stories, positive teaching methods, thoughts on handling parents and administrators, and taking responsibility for student learning.
"I feel I have something to say to the profession as a whole," Robertson says. "Children are in a classroom 180 days a year. That shouldn't suck. It should be fun and interesting. This book is an inside view of what my classroom is like from an inside perspective."
Robertson says it's a rare week that doesn't find him climbing up on a desk and waving his yardstick around.
I don't believe you should just 'park and bark,' " he says. "Everyone knows emotions are contagious. I want my kids to feel this is an exciting place to be."
He's also known to mix things up in the schoolyard in hopes of getting younger students intrigued with the goings-on in the "weird teacher's classroom," he says.
He randomly disrupts orderly lines of kindergartners by offering up high-fives.
"Everyone knows if you put your hand out, it shall be fived," Robertson says. "And the kindergarten teacher is too nice to yell at me. But I'm building that culture. 'He's the weird teacher.' Kids who are in kindergarten are excited to be in my class. When I finally get them, that (playground high-five) has already done part of my job for me."
Robertson says becoming a weird teacher was in the stars.
"I was the weird kid, too," Robertson says.
But it's not all "laughing and rainbows every day," he says.
"I need to be able to take them from silly to serious in two seconds," Robertson says. "The goal, after all, is education."
Standardized teaching is "where the pendulum of education is right now," he says. But that doesn't mean kids shouldn't learn how to be critical thinkers. Keeping students on their toes with seemingly silly nonsense is a good way to create "thinking, productive members of society," he says.
Robertson knows some of his high-energy teaching methods are not for every teacher — and perhaps not for every student. Empathy is important, too, he says.
"Empathy is one of the themes that runs through the book that I hope people take away from it," Robertson says. "A lot of these kids have things going on in their homes I don't want to think about."
Lowering his energy, Robertson slips onto a tall stool in the front of the class. The students snack quietly on grapefruit slices as Robertson cracks open a well-worn copy of "Charlotte's Web" and reads to them the last word the wise spider will spin above Wilber's pen at the fair.
"The word 'humble' was neatly woven in the center ..."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or

This is my favorite picture from the online gallery:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Bloomsbury Books Reading

My first reading! So exciting.
I did as much promotion as I could leading up to the event. I contacted the local paper, which didn't pay off for the reading but might pay off in the long run (see upcoming post). I tweeted and Facebooked. I mass emailed everyone in my school district.
And in the end eight people came. A few got the flyer Bloomsbury sent out. A few saw the flyer in the window. One saw it advertised in the paper. And one awesome person from my school came out to support. Needless to say, the turn out was not as massive as I hoped. But, considering my secret fear was a room empty save for the wife and boy, eight isn't bad.
And they were a great audience. They participated and laughed in all the right places and a few bought books.
My view
 I've never been to a book reading. I've watched a few online, Chuck Klosterman and Sarah Vowell, but those were at universities. Big crowds of people familiar with the writer. I knew I would have few-to-no one who knew who I was. Some people would probably be nervous about that. My ego is such that I'm not. Public speaking, while a fear for many, is not a fear for me. I had the text and my personality, so I was confident.
I decided the format for the reading would be an introduction, followed by a funny chapter, a question/conversation stemming from that, a more serious chapter, and another question/conversation. I wasn't really sure how well the questions would go so I planned a third chapter just in case.
Turns out I needed all three, but I did get some good questions in between.
The reading took place on the second floor of the store. There was a lectern, a mic, a table, and rows of folding chairs. I set up some books on the table, stood at the lectern, and turned off the mic. The crowd was small and close and I've got the teacher voice. I don't need no stinking microphone. Some readers probably do, but not I. Down below the store was pretty dead, with one very friendly, helpful guy working the register.
 I introduced myself and let everyone know the plan for the hour, then read the first of my three selections- Peanut Butter and Jelly. I'd never thought about reading that chapter until I asked Facebook and many suggested it, calling it one of the funnier chapters. I knew it was funny, but I had never really thought about it. Turns out the masses were right. PB&J went over like gangbusters. It's a nice chapter for reading, dramatic and funny, with lots of chances for expression and voices and pausing for laughs. And laughs there were. The guy working the counter told me afterwards he'd never laughed that hard during a reading and he bought a copy of the book because of it. So good call, Facebook. Thanks!
We chatted after and I found out a couple of the people in the audience were educators, former educators, or people who worked with children in some way. Then I went on to the one I thought would kill, Bodily Functions. I maintain that's one of the funniest things I've ever written. It cracks me up. And it went well, but not as well and the first. I think maybe it's too gross to be read aloud unless the audience is very specific. Better to be in your head.
We chatted more then I went on to my last choice- Sympathy for the Weird Kid. I think this will be in any reading I get a chance to do. It contains one of the big themes of the book, empathy, it's personal, and most everyone can relate. It's one of the most about me chapters, but it can be about pretty much anyone attracted to what I have to say. It's a chapter that gets silent nodding and soft noises from a good audience, which I had.
The hour struck as I was finishing the final chapter, but no one left so we hung out for another fifteen minutes, talking and sharing teaching stories. An 80 year old woman told a story about subbing in a music class that ended with, "Why don't you shove it in your ass?" Yeah, at my reading an 80 year old woman said, "shove it in your ass." That makes it a success right there, I think. One guy bought a book for his teacher son in inner-city Chicago. A kindly older couple bought one for themselves. And the guy who worked the counter. The 80 year old had published two of her own books, which she promised to (and did) send to me.
The tiny human had to get involved because he's adorable and loves to be the center of attention. Hmmm, wonder where that came from?

 I had a ton of fun. I love being in front of an audience, it feels natural and comfortable and if I could make a living giving speeches I'd probably do it. I guess I kind of do, though a good teacher doesn't talk as much as he listens. I'm hustling hard to find more places to do readings and I hope more come through. I want to thank Bloomsbury for having me. They had only been taking one copy of the book at a time but both copies sold quickly so Monday they took two instead. Guess it's popular. I'm sure the fantastic cover helps.
Thanks for your support. Please, again, leave a review on amazon, Barnes and Noble, and goodreads if you've read and enjoyed He's the Weird Teacher. And tell your friends. And remember Christmas is coming and who doesn't love a book in their stocking?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rock Star Principals' Podcast Ep. 13

My podcast is up!

Let me back up. A few weeks ago I encountered a fantastic twitter account called @RckStrPrincipal aka The Rock Star Principals. "Ah-ha!" I thought to myself. "Kindred spirits!" And so they are. After some tweeting back and forth we realized the mutual rockstar-ness we shared and knew there had to be a meeting of the minds. I sent them a promotional copy of the book, they read it and loved it (as we all did), and asked me to be on the show (read: I asked to be on the show and they said yes).

We talked for about 45 minutes and I expected that they would edit or cut the conversation into two episodes. Nope, the interview in its entirety is presented with only a commercial break in the middle. I realized I'm a huge narcissist, but I feel like the conversation came out great. I wish I had spent a little more time talking about the Weird Kid chapter and empathy, but overall I'm very pleased. The second-guessing I did right after the interview turned out to not be as bad as I worried.
I had a great time and I hope the Rock Star Principals Jon and Nick have me back again.

Here's the link to episode Lucky 13.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bloomsbury Books Reading Flyer

My reading is all set up for Bloomsbury Books November 11th at 7pm. I'm really excited and have a box of books to prove it. I've started talking it up and have gotten permission from my school district to send a district-wide email informing everyone within shouting distance. Hopefully that will end up meaning I'll read to more than Wife and Child. If you're in the area please come. Special thanks to Rachel Ott for the help designing the flyer.

I've also given Tree House Books in Ashland five more copies, since they sold the one they had. That's pretty damn exciting. My book in a real store sold to some person who I couldn't possibly know. Woo!

The latest sales report came in last night and we are doing well. I'm not swimming in it like Scrooge McDuck, but I've made my investment back and people are buying. I expect sales to slow some now that the initial bump of friends and family is over. But maybe not. Maybe the word is spreading. I built a Facebook page for He's the Weird Teacher which you can find here. Same information as the blog, but also with pictures and Facebookiness. If you're on Facebook please give it a Like. Likes spread as your friends see what you like.

Thank you again to everyone buying, reading, sharing, tweeting, reviewing and talking about the book. It means a lot and please don't stop. Don't forget it needs reviews on GoodReads and Nook too. Thanks again!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Reading Scheduled- Bloomsbury Books

I have scheduled my first reading of He's the Weird Teacher!!!
I am very excited!!!
I will now show this by abusing the exclamation point key!!!...!!
 Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, OR is one of the two bookstores currently holding a copy of He's the Weird Teacher on consignment. One benefit of that is they are willing to let me have a talk/reading in their store. They will be advertising it on their website and in their newsletter, as well as putting a sign up in the store window, which I think I'm going to create (All information is based on the five minute conversation I had with their planner today. Emails will be exchanged, details will emerge).

Obviously, if you are in the area I would love for you to come. There will be many pictures and possibly some video of the event. I'll be ordering a ton of copies of the book to take with me. And I will quietly fret that it will be me, my wife, and the tiny human there, and at least one of those people will either sleep or cry through the whole thing.

More information and reminders as they come.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Now In Stores!!!

He's the Weird Teacher has arrived in bookstores across one small town in Southern Oregon!
Both Tree House Children's Books and Bloomsbury Books in Ashland, OR have agreed to take a few copies of the book on consignment since I'm a local author.
We were walking through Ashland, a nice little town, passing the shops and I couldn't help myself from asking if they would take the book. Both said yes, with different caveats and benefits.

Bloomsbury, which is a big fancy independent bookstore, has said they would only take one copy right now, which is up on a shelf somewhere, we let before I saw her put it out. But I'm to call tomorrow, Thursday, and speak to one of the owners about setting up a reading and promotional night, during which I can bring in more to sell. And if the one sells, they'll tell me and I'll bring in more for the store. My split there is 60/40. So the store keeps 40% of what the price of the book is.
Tree House is a children's book store, and a really cute fun one at that. The shop is mostly filled with children's book, picture books and the like, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. The owner was very nice and excited to have a local author's book up in her store. She immediately picked a place out on the shelf (I brought in one copy to show her) and put it up, front-facing. When she asked how many I could bring in I replied, how many do you want? This was after Bloomsbury, so I was expecting something along the lines of, "Well, let's see how the one sells." Nope! "We can have six, that way I can put up five spine out and one front-facing so it's easy to see. Plus, if you make a little author blurb I'll stick it to the shelf under the book. Lots of teachers shop here, so that will probably help." I'm already on createspace ordering the next five to bring in. But wait, there's more. "If you make bookmarks and bring them in I'll put them on the counter for people to take. Any way to get the name out." Needless to say I'm working on bookmarks with Dorothy of the awesome cover. The owner also said she'd be happy to talk about a promotional thing, but after the new year because they are all filled up until December. The split there is 75/25, which is better than I'd get from any publisher on the planet.
This is quite exciting for me. My book exists as a real live book in two real live bookstores. I'm also working on helping the bookstore at the University of the Pacific and at the University of Hawaii ordering a few, plus one or two other promotional things.
Thanks again to everyone reading the book and saying nice things. The reviews on amazon are great, and if you read it on your Nook it needs reviews in the B&N store too.
If you're in Ashland pop in to Tree House or Bloomsbury. If you're in Barnes and Noble bother the worker drones into looking it up on their system and make them tell you it's not carried in store.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Live in the B&N Store

He's the Weird Teacher is now live in the Barnes and Noble Nook Store! So if you have a Nook and Smashwords was being a pain, now you've got an even easier option.
Just like on Amazon, the Nook Store uses reviews to recommend books to browsers. So if you've bought from one of those two places please please please go and leave a review. I'm not talking about a giant book report, just a sentence or two telling strangers they should spend a couple bucks because it's funny, interesting, whatever you think. I'm not asking for a bunch of five stars, leave what you think it deserves. It won't hurt my feelings. But reviews move stuff around in the computer.
Also, lots of you have been sharing and tweeting and whatnot, which is great. Please keep it up. Chuck Klosterman once said that commercials and ads and advertising don't sell books. The only thing that sells books is a person you trust saying, "Hey, you should buy this book." So please, tell people you think would like it that they will like it.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Autographed Copies of He's the Weird Teacher

Full Disclosure: This is a strange post to be writing.

I have been getting messages asking about getting autographed copies of He's the Weird Teacher. First off, wow that's really cool. Second, make sure you keep the book in mint condition afterwards because someday you'll be able to sell it on ebay for tens, possibly dozens, of dollars.

I do want to help people out who want autographed copies of the book, so I've been trying to figure out the best way to make it possible without being difficult. I've come up with a few choices-

1) Go to your perfered online bookseller (amazon and createspace have paperbacks) and order the book, but have it sent to my home instead of yours. It comes to me, I sign it, then I send it on to you. Through paypal you pay me to ship it to you. Obviously, to do this you need to get in touch with me on the tweets  so you know where to send it. This is kinda creepy though, so you might like option two better.

3) I have copies in my home. DM me on the tweets or email me (the and let me know you want one and we'll work it out that way. Total book costs for in country shipping is $14 media mail and $17 priority. That is the book plus shipping and that's all. What kind of a jerk charges for his signature?

3) In the non-creepiest and/or funniest way possible, find me in person and ask me to sign it. Hell, I'll sign your e-reader cover that way too. I'll even take a picture with you and the book*.

Unfortunately, I don't have the money to pay to ship the signed copy to you, so I've added a link over on the sidebar which will connect to my paypal account. I'll tell you how much shipping will be, you put that into the paypal account, then I'll send your signed copy out.

So yes, getting a signed copy will be a little more expensive because you'll be paying for shipping, but imagine the look on the faces of all your coworkers and friends and family members when they unwrap that present at Christmas and see, "Dear Your Name Here, You're an awesome human person. Read carefully. There will be a test. -Doug Robertson". You can't buy joy like that.

Happy reading, and don't forget to leave those reviews on Amazon! Thanks!

*picture cost $56 per person per picture**

**unless you can quote Holy Grail, Spinal Tap, Jaws, or Legally Blonde to me. Then the fee is waived.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Amazon Update

He's the Weird Teacher is almost completely on sale everywhere. I think it should still show up on the Barnes and Noble page at some point. But amazon has linked the paperback and Kindle pages together now.
Find that HERE.
Remember, you can also go to Smashwords and Createspace.
Please continue to spread the word and leave reviews!
Thank you.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

E-Book Announcement- He's the Weird Teacher

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages!
The Kindle and Smashwords editions of He's the Weird Teacher are live and ready for purchase.
Follow this links to the page to get yourself the newest, hottest, most exciting, most hyperbolic book about teaching I've ever written.
 The paperback is not up yet so if you want an actual hardcopy to hold in your hands and smell the pages then you're going to have to wait a few more days. But if you're a digital person then He's the Weird Teacher is ready to be bought.
The price for both amazon and smashwords is $4.99.
If you buy on amazon, and I'm going to be saying this over and over, please please please go back and leave a review after you read it. Reviews are how books move up and down the suggestion fields and the more positive reviews the book gets the higher it should move and, theoretically, the more people will see it.
Like I said, the paperback is not up yet. It will be soon though.
It would mean a lot to me if you would help spread the word by tweeting, Facebooking, Google+-ing, and word-of-mouthing He's the Weird Teacher to everyone you know. I'm warning you, I'm going to be kind of a pain about this over the next few weeks, but it's only because I'm crazy excited and proud of the product.
Thank you for reading, sharing, and being a part of this.

Monday, August 19, 2013

In the Mail!

It's in the mail.
There is a paperback copy of He's the Weird Teacher being printed, cover and all, as we speak. Soon it will be in the mail. Approximately ten days after that it will be in my mailbox.
This paperback copy is my final approval draft. It isn't so much for edits, as that is done and anything wrong is wrong in this edition (I'm sure there are spelling and punctuation things that slipped through, but they should be few and far between), as it is for making sure the layout, cover, and all that good stuff is like I want.
The website, createspace, is waiting for my approval. I'm pretty sure the amazon page is on deck, and the smashwords page too. When it is ready ready I'll post links to amazon, smashwords, and createspace, because it'll be order-able from all three. I've also set it up so that libraries and book stores can order copies themselves. This will come in handy since the bookstore at my almamater, the University of the Pacific, has told me they would like to carry a few copies. It also means independent bookstores and the University of Hawaii (who makes an appearance kind of) are going to be getting nagging phone calls and emails from me in the next couple of days that will sound something like this:

I appreciate everyone reading this and I'll be calling on you to help spread the word once the book is ready to rock. Big things will be social media sharing and giving it reviews on amazon. Reviews are how things move up the suggestion lists, putting it in front of eyes I'll never be able to reach otherwise.
Thank you for your support. I'll post pictures of the proof once it gets here.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thesis Statement

Saw this on Facebook today and it rang true. This quote, though this is the first time I'd seen it, is pretty much the thesis statement for at least two chapters of the book and I hope is a theme that gets taken away by the reader at the end.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Corrections Submitted

Earlier this week Ray at y42k publishing sent me the penultimate draft of the book to look over. There is always one final pass of correcting before you send the book off to print. Stuff slips through. There was a list. Wanna see it? Wanna see a list of corrections that are basically meaningless out of context? Ok.

[ ] Pg 14. Capital T in The Simpsons. And no apostrophe
[ ] Pg. 16 period after first before "
[ ] Pg. 21 next to THE Demarcus...
[ ] Pg. 21 "what a teacher could BE" not do
[ ] Pg. 25 This is one of those stories, then paragraph break.
[ ] Pg. 42 capital And in And Not Freaking Out
[ ] Pg. 48 obviously then comma. Last paragraph
[ ] Pg. 50 "it's logical end" should be its
[ ] Pg. 51 after the list "teachers'" apostrophe placement
[ ] Pg 56 "impressed my principal so MUCH that..."
[ ] Pg. 64 "If need to..." Should be "If I need to..." Last full paragraph
[ ] Pg. 64 end of same sentence, "heart to heart with the child ask..." There should be AND between child and ask
[ ] Pg 76 2nd paragraph "they get to argue with me ABOUT how..."
[ ] Pg. 86 last full paragraph delete MYSELF "...a section I think of at the end of every quarter."
[ ] Pg. 146 comma after "In fact", first full paragraph
[ ] Pg 146 italics I, Robot, second full paragraph
[ ] Pg. 159 second to last word should be KINDS not kind
[ ] Pg. 178 first full paragraph "opportunities" instead of opportunity
[ ] Pg. 183 I'd like there to be a page break between "Thus endeth the chapter" and the next line. Possible?
[ ] Pg 191 middle paragraph second to last sentence. "parent's" should be "parents'"
[ ] Pg. 235 end of middle paragraph. "You just stand THERE" not then
[ ] Pg. 254 top paragraph, right after the strikethrough, delete "a"
[ ] Pg. 263 second to last paragraph first sentence, delete "that I"
[ ] Pg. 265 "For fun he...rides HIS motorcycle..."

There. Happy? So those things slipped though and I managed to finish the list in a few days. I just sent it to Ray so now I wait again. I wait as he goes through and makes those final changes. Then he'll let me know what I need to do with the cover, because the size we made it probably isn't totally correct. Luckily, that's easy fix for Dorothy.
All this means we creep closer and closer to an actual release. Very exciting, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Out Of My Hands (for now)

There isn't too much to say in this post. But it is exciting to be about to say.
I've turned in the book to Y42K publishing. He has his fee and all the text and information he required to start his end of the process. So now I wait. Should be a week or two, and then he comes back to me with more questions and a dummy copy that I can check over for mistakes. Dorothy and I will probably have to fiddle with the cover size a little once we know for such what the page count in the paperback will be (no Word doc page count does not equal actual page count). I approve the dummy copy, we finish setting up the Smashwords and amazon pages, then away it goes and I make millions of dollars becoming a world wide sensation ending up on The Daily Show while Jon Stewart laughs at my stories. Or I sell enough to break even. Or only my friends buy it. But even if that happens, at least I wrote a book I'm proud of and got it out into the world.
Ok, more as it develops! Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 2, 2013

We Have a Cover

I kind of was going to tease this out, maybe release a little bit at a time or something, but I can't. I way way waaaay too excited about the whole thing to do that.
My friend Dorothy came over to the house today to shoot the picture for me to use for the cover of the book. That's all I had planned. Take some pictures, then hang out. Instead, she came over with all her gear and her computer,  we hashed out the basic idea for the cover, shot for fifteen minutes or so, and then got to editing and she, using the templates provided to me by (by the way, go check out their book on the Boston Marathon called The 27th Mile) totally built the whole cover with me in Photoshop. It was very cool and I can't thank her enough and I'm totally thrilled with what we ended up with. It took some fiddling, but my initial idea was pretty strong and she has an eye for graphic design, so it came out great. I think it'll be eye-catching on shelves and in the amazon shop and hopefully it's going to make people click on it/pick it up.
The below image is the front cover. We actually built the entire cover and there's a back to it too with a blurb about the book that I'll probably use in most of the promotional material, but I'm not putting that up.
And with all that said...
Drum roll, please

I love it. I love it love it love it. I think it's great. I can't thank Dorothy enough. What I can do is send you all to her websites. If you have photography needs and are in the Tacoma area, hit her up.
Here is her website and here is her Facebook page. Please reach out. If you like the book design let her know that too; she should know how kick ass it is from people who aren't me. She shot Super Awesome Wife and my wedding too, so if you dig around on her site a little, or just wait on the main page, there's all kinds of pictures of us.
He's the Weird Teacher will soon be headed off to the publisher, and from there it should be a matter of short weeks before you all can hold it in your hands or download it to your reading devices. I hope you're half as excited about reading it as I am about releasing it into the wild.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Start the Process

2:00pm PST

Started the publishing process today. Well, last night. My last reader finished the book over the week so I went in, made the last few corrections that she found, and saved it again. I'm publishing through so I visited Ray's page and sent him an email letting him know who I am and what I want to do. We've been emailing back and forth and will talk at 4pm today to discuss particulars. From there there's a bunch of steps but none of them are all that hard. Really, the only things left for me to do are create a cover, write the back of the book blurb, and write the sales blurb that will go up on amazon, Kindle, and wherever else it'll be sold. 
I'm also trying to think ahead about spreading the word and twitter games that I can play to get people to retweet the links. On Twitter proper I've been going on an education people follow spreed, and as soon as I feel it's ready to go out I'll email some ed bloggers a copy so they can review it. Spread the word!
More after I talk to Ray.

3:47pm PST

So what I meant to type was, "More in just over 24 hours because things happen and I forget to get back to the blog I started."
Ray and I had a very productive phone call last night and I feel quite confident I'm making the right choice by going with him as my independent publisher. For a very reasonable price he's going to do all the leg work and get the book, He's the Weird Teacher (coming soon please buy it) out into the world quicker and easier than I would ever be able to.
Yesterday we talked book size, by page number, word count, and the dimensions of the paperback copy. He suggested 5 1/2 x 8 1/2, which looks like standard trade size. That makes the page count and printing costs reasonable. Some of you might think, "The page count?" and then figure it out after thinking about it for a second, but basically smaller pages mean more pages because less text per page and visa versa. Too small and the book gets thicker than it needs, too big and it's super thin and awkward to hold.
There is only one picture in the book, so that's easy and won't cost any extra dough. The word count stands at around 75.5k, which is standard for this type of book. We discussed cover options, which include my making it myself from a boring template, my paying him to make it, or my having someone else make it for me. We are going with a mix of a and c. I've got a friend coming out soon to take the pictures I'll be using for the covers, and Ray sent me the files I need to build it. Wife is good with computers, so we'll probably work together to get that done.
The only things left for me to write, aside from a check, are the back of book blurb and the sales blurb that will go on amazon and B&N and anywhere else it ends up. The wife is doing a sprint finish to try and get through her reading of the book to catch any last grammar/formatting problems and then it's off to Ray and he starts doing his magic. I want to get the text to him by the end of this week, and after that I don't think the process will take too long.
I'll be asking a ton of favors when the book comes out because the only way it's going to sell is if people talk it up. There will be Twitter and Facebook games, and I'll shamelessly beg you all to go on amazon and leave reviews. The only way books move up lists on their sales and suggestions pages are with high-star reviews, so that's going to be key for spreading the word. I'm also following a ton of ed bloggers on the twitters, so I'll probably send a few free digital copies out to them in hopes of a review.
Speaking of the twitters, I'm on there @TheWeirdTeacher so follow me why don't you for up-to-the-when-I-get-to-it news and updates about the book.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dr Seuss Presentation

My Seuss presentation at SDE Las Vegas was fantastic. The audience was great and they played along with me, I feel like I got some good information out there, and hopefully inspired some lessons.
The tab at the top of the page will lead you to any links you need to get at the Discovering Seuss information.
Here's a fun little Vine we made during the presentation.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What a Weird Teacher Does For Fun in Vegas

**Not a chapter from the book (maybe the second book though...)**
I'm in Las Vegas for the SDE Differentiated Instruction National Conference, at which I'm presenting a talk on Discovering Seuss: Using the Good Doctor in Your Classroom.
I'm lame. I don't drink. I'm too poor to gamble. I don't really enjoy crowds. And while I've met some very nice people we haven't made plans to hang out outside of the conference. So I'm alone a lot.
How alone? I went to the gym today. Yep, go to Vegas, go to the gym.
But that isn't the nerdiest thing I did today.
I was wandering around the Venitian looking for something to eat and I saw a sign for a place called I <3 Burgers. Sounds like my kind of place so I made my way in that general direction. By the way, one of the best, if not the best burger I've ever had. I got the Oregon Trail. So yummy.
On the way, I had to pass through some shops. Expensive shops. We're having a sale and you can get a shirt for only $99 shops. And in the midst of all these places a vision...
A Rare Book Store.
 Some people are suckers for clothes or movies. I'm a sucker for rare books and music. Hours. Hours and hours and hours. It's like crack. I love first editions. I don't know why. Because I love books, and a first edition, especially the old ones where you can tell the work that went into the binding and gluing. I love the smell.
So in the middle of one of the prettiest, most expensive hotels on The Strip, I wandered around a rare book store, took pictures, and made small and not-so-small happy noises. Keep in mind, these are first editions and signed copies. These are crazy expensive, like with a comma, sometimes a big one. They are kept behind glass.
So cool.
Two Vonnegut books Cat's Cradle  and Slaughterhouse 5. Signed and drawn in my the man himself. Come home with me.

First Edition Twains.

Chronicles of Narnia. Winnie the Pooh.

The Raven!!! With woodcut illustrations. Gah!

To Kill a Mockingbird. War of the Worlds. Huck Finn. Holy crap.

Catcher in the Rye!

Signed Maurice Sendak drawing of Max holding a sign, "For Jessica". Be on my wall. Now!
Honestly made an out loud happy noise at these.

Two first edition Seuss books. I could touch and smell them. They smelled wonderful.

Leather-bound Macbeth script. Shakespeare Works. Moby Dick.

Catch-22! The Shining. More excited about Heller, but King is great too.

Leather bound and embossed Tom Sawyer.
The big thrills for me were the Macbeth, the Sendak art, both Vonnegut books, and The Raven. I might walk back there tomorrow.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Whisper Shouting

*from a chapter on overhearing student conversations*

I was in the back of the room when I heard it. A whisper-shout. You’ve all heard the whisper-shout. Children don’t understand how sound travels, but they do know that whispering makes your voice quieter. How quiet they aren’t sure. This is why a child will crawl into your ear canal to tell you a secret and you still won’t be able to hear it because they refuse to vibrate the necessary vocal cords too much in case anyone else is in there with them. Conversely, if the person you are trying to whisper at is more than thirteen inches away you must whisper-shout at them, putting as much breath behind your whisper as possible. That way they hear you, but the teacher in the back of the room does not. How could he? You’re whispering.
Whisper-shouting is not uncommon in classrooms, and being able to hear them is not a special skill, though I let my students think that it is. “It’s a superpower,” I tell them, “which I learned in Teacher School. I can hear anything.” They don’t buy it at first, until I make them believe. Thou Shalt Catch Behaviors Early. I am extremely focused on catching little things early in the year, that way the class becomes convinced they will get caught if they try to get away with things. It’s the same way elephant trainers get full-grown elephants to stay by tying them to a stick in the ground. When the elephant is a baby it is unable to pull the stick free, so as an adult it doesn’t even try. Catch students pulling at the stick early in the year, by second quarter they’ve stopped trying so hard.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Forward

Quick Update:

I'm about 21 chapters into my third read-through of the book and remain proud and happy with it. I still think it says everything I want to say. In fact, there have been times in the last month when I've either though of something I didn't say and wanted to add that I later realized I had put in, or when I thought of something new and had to stop myself from adding a new chapter. I'll save those ideas for next time.
Today I got the forward, which was written by a former student and her mom. It's...wonderful. It is so cool, you guys. I can't wait until everyone reads the book, but now I can't wait until everyone reads the forward. I love it. I was so lucky to have this child in my classroom.
Anyway, the time approaches. We are done with the move, my Dr Seuss presentation is finished and now I'm practicing and fine-tuning. That happens on the 18th. Soon I'll be able to focus on the finishing touches and getting the book out to the publisher. I still haven't taken the cover picture, and I think the props might have gotten packed, which will mean it will be the very last thing to happen. Need our stuff to get here first. That's ok.
Thank you for reading.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dear Parents

*this comes from a chapter about parents*
Parents- I’m going to be straight up with you. Most teachers don’t want to say this to you, but I will. I want you to know this isn’t coming from a place of animosity or anger. The majority of my experiences with parents have been positive. Even those parents, though, sometimes need to hear what I’m about to say.
I am the professional here. This is my job. I’ve been well trained. I do it for a living. You need to trust me. I don’t get paid based on your child’s grades (yet). I don’t get sick pleasure out of making your son cry. I’m not picking on your daughter via her report card. I’m not trying to ruin your weekend with my math homework. I really do believe the reading is more important than football practice. I could use help on this field trip, and your daughter would really dig it if you came. Yes, he does need all those folders and pencils and journals, they aren’t that expensive at Target and you should see his desk without them. I really do know what is best in my classroom. The story your son is telling you about what happened at recess might be true-ish, I’m not saying he’s lying, but he might be conveniently forgetting context. I would very much appreciate it if you ask me my version of something before you get angry with me. I write notes home so you know what is going on, please write me back so I know you saw the note. And please please please don’t call my classroom in the middle of the day. I’m busy.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Watching You


*This is from a chapter about unusual things that happen in my classroom*

Watching You- Watching You isn’t a game and it isn’t a lesson. It’s not active at all. The point of watching you is to constantly remind my students and myself that learning is serious business, but it doesn’t have to be taken seriously. It is easy to explain. I know I stole it, but I don’t know who from.
Before the school year starts I take a picture of myself looking stern, arms crossed, scowling at the camera. I print five full-page copies of the picture, which I put into clear protective covers. Then I staple the pictures to the walls of my classroom, one on each wall and one on the ceiling.
I say nothing about the pictures. I do not acknowledge them in any way until a student does. This doesn’t take long. The one in the front of the classroom doesn’t get noticed first because it’s normally hidden behind the pull-down screen. It’ll be one to the sides first seen. I hear it discovered. “What the..hey! There’s a picture of Mr. Robertson over here!” Eyes immediately go to the picture, then to the opposite wall, where they find the other. “Hey! He’s over here too!” Quickly they look to the back of the room and see me staring down at them. “He’s got pictures all over the place!” They think discoveries are over now. Where else would a picture be? When I roll up the screen to reveal number four it gets a delighted scream from the class. “Why do you have pictures of yourself all over the room?”
“Because I’m always watching you.”
It isn’t until later that someone finds the one on the ceiling. That’s the best one. The child is becoming bored with class. He lets his head loll back. What in the what? “He’s on the ceiling!”
It’s great. It works all year as parents and other classes come to my room for various reasons. Keeps me amused. It’s funny to listen to the kids share it with siblings outside of class. “He’s got pictures of himself all over! I know, it’s weird, right?”

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Aloha At Risk- Education in Hawaii

I'm a busy busy teacher. Along with finishing the next few drafts of my book, He's the Weird Teacher, excerpts from which I appreciate all of you reading here, I am also editing a collection of essays covering a wide variety of topics and writing styles about teaching and education in Hawaii, including first person stories from teachers about working in their classrooms. We, myself and the publishing group Interstitial Press, have begun circulating the CFP (Call For Papers) I have included below. Essay inclusion will be merit-based, so writers with no previous publishing experience need not worry about being overlooked.
We are already in talks with local booksellers about Hawaii distribution and nationwide and international distribution has already been assured.
The title is a parody of the Regan-era study "A Nation At Risk" which jump-started much of the education reform movement in America.

Below is the CFP. Thank you for reading and I look forward to your submissions.


Since the release of “A Nation At Risk” in 1983, public education has been subjected to increased scrutiny from political officials, parents, and concerned citizens. In recent years, such scrutiny has given way to calls for comprehensive education reform. Both the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and Race to the Top program, respectively inaugurated under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, focus on increasing standards for public schools throughout the United States, while more local initiatives like private school voucher systems and parent “trigger” laws attempt to increase learning opportunities for children by maximizing parental choice and administrative participation.

Yet, these reforms—or 'deforms' as they're called by opponents—have been condemned for being undemocratic, corporatist, and overly punitive. NCLB, for example, has been said to subsume diverse groups of children under reductionist statistical metrics, failing to account for demographic and developmental variances. RTTT continued this trend, according to critics, and added pressure for local school districts to implement costly teacher evaluation protocols based largely on standardized achievement tests, rather than holistic measures of learning growth and professional practice. In an ironic display of political harmony, small-government 'conservatives' and labor-minded 'liberals' alike have attacked national education reforms, the former for impugning states' rights and the latter for undermining collective bargaining.

Hawaii, considered by some political pundits to be the most labor-friendly state in the nation, has been on the frontlines of the battle over public education. One year after receiving an RTTT grant award in 2010, the state was placed on “high risk” status by the U.S. Department of Education for failing to implement reforms quickly enough and prolonging a regressive contract dispute with the Hawaii State Teachers Association. Education reforms are further complicated by events from Hawaii's historical trajectory, including settler colonialism, imperial overthrow of native governance, suppression of indigenous culture, and plantation economics, each of which inform the state's current sociopolitical structure and discursive condition.

This interdisciplinary essay collection seeks to engage the theme of “education in Hawaii” from a critical vantage point. Submissions will be accepted for each of the book's four sections: “Pedagogy of Aloha” (critical pedagogical studies); “Decolonizing Aloha” (colonialism in/and the classroom); “Re/Deforming Aloha” (general education theory, including social, political, and philosophical analysis); and “Teaching Aloha” (classroom stories). Potential topics might include:

- How do socioeconomic and ethnic inequality affect Hawaii's classrooms and education politics?

- To what extent does money drive education reform in Hawaii? Do reforms (re)produce corporate infrastructure and economic division, rather than quality learning experiences?

- How does Hawaii's history, including settler colonialism and plantation development, impact the present state and future direction of the state's education system?

- In what ways are native or marginalized knowledge(s) suppressed by standards-based education reforms? What pedagogical techniques might be used to advance such knowledge(s)?

- What progressive teaching modalities (i.e. feminist composition, queer- and eco-pedagogy, or ethnomathematics) might be employed to address Hawaii's diverse student populations?

Essays should be approximately 4,000 to 8,000 words in length and employ Chicago Manual of Style formatting (using endnotes). Submissions should be sent to Initial inquiries are welcome. Deadline for submissions is December 31, 2013.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Everyone is Faking It

*from a chapter on making your own rules for teaching*

The thing that made the transition easiest was when I finally internalized the idea that Everyone Is Faking It. No one really knows what is going on. As a child you never suspect that the grown-ups in your life don’t have everything wired. They must, they’re grown-ups. I think the trouble with the puberty part of adolescence is you spend a lot of your time assuming that at some point you’re going to figure everything out. Things are going to become clear. You will hit a certain age and a key will turn in your brain and suddenly life will make sense. I thought maybe when I graduate high school. Maybe when I graduate college. Maybe when I get my first real job. Never happened. Never got the cheat code that illuminated Life and showed me the back doors and the ropes. Never got to peek behind the curtain. Never got the software update.
The only explanation is not that I didn’t get it. It’s that no one gets it. I’m not a solipsist. All you other people exist. You’re walking bags of meat, water, and electricity just like I am. If I didn’t get an instruction manual, if I never got the download of Important Information, then no one did. Everyone is faking it.
Those two thoughts sprung a trap in my Teacher Brain than can never be unsprung. Everyone is faking it and there are no rules. This changed everything. I had that realization at around the same time I was really getting good at the basic mechanics of teaching- Various types of classroom discipline, how different instructional theories played in the classroom, what worked for me and what didn’t. I was ready to start making my own choices right at the moment I was freed by my twin realizations. No one knows what they are doing and there are no rules.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Parents, Be Wrong And Admit It To Your Kids

*This is from a chapter directed at parents*

Oh! That’s a scary thing, isn’t it? What if they ask you a question you don’t know the answer to? New teachers have this same fear. I’m supposed to be the smartest one in the room. I’m the Teacher. I’m the Parent. I’m the Adult. I should have all the answers.
No. No you shouldn’t. Be wrong. Be unsure. That tells your child that being wrong is ok. I tell my students weekly that I want them to get things wrong. My job is to teach them, but if they know everything I have nothing to teach them. Them being wrong keeps me employed. I will never ever yell at someone for being wrong. I’ll get on their case for not trying, that’s a huge problem, but being wrong? Nope. Be wrong. Humans are wrong with startling regularity. You can’t learn unless you’re wrong first. I tell my kids I’m wrong all the time. When I make a mistake in class they point it out. Oh, there is nothing more fun than pointing out your teacher’s mistake. “Mr. Robertson! The answer is 52! You wrote 55!” “Why so I did. Thank you.” “Mr. Robertson, you misspelled ceiling! Again.” Ceiling, for those of you who don’t know, is one of the most frustrating words in the English language. It never looks right. Being wrong is learning.
The best part of telling your child that you don’t know is it means you get to learn something together! We now live in a world where all the knowledge is quite literally at our fingertips. The Google Knows All. Take advantage of your smart phone. Show your child how you find out something when you don’t know. They learn from you. If you’re brave enough to be wrong, your son will come to my class and he’ll be brave enough to be wrong.

Monday, April 29, 2013

When the Stomach Betrays a Student

*from a chapter on bodily functions* 
The other caveat to Thou Shalt Stay In Thy Seat is if you are about to be sick. Any kind of sick, I don’t care what end it is about to come spraying out of, get out of my room. Go, run RUN to the bathroom. Even if you don’t make it all the way there it is still better than doing it in the classroom.
Mostly, I’m talking about puke. Vomit. Spew. Throw up. Sick. Some children throw up more than frat boys determined to convince themselves they are having a good time. The trick is getting that moment of warning before it happens. They know it is about to happen. But how much time to do you have? How far are they from the door? Some students feel it coming far enough in advance. “Mr. Robertson...I don’t feel good...” A child about to lose it has a look. A pale, sickly pallor. An experienced teacher has seen it before.
“Go. Go to the bathroom. Go!”
This might seem harsh. Maybe you think I should ask very nicely what is wrong and what they had to eat. Nope, now is not the time for that. Vesuvius is bubbling and you don’t know when it is going to blow. Urgency prevents a fare-thee-well. Yes, throwing up will probably ruin that student’s day. But throwing up in the classroom will ruin the entire class’s day. That is a smell that does not come out. Sympathetic puking becomes a real concern. Not just for the students either. I’m ok around a lot of fluids, but those smells...I struggle to keep it together. I’m not above taking a class outside for the day. You, of course, do your best not to embarrass the sick child. I remind the class that this happens, sometimes people get sick, and I praise the ill one for getting out of the classroom in time. Even if they only make it to the grass outside the room that is still better than doing it in class. May you never experience a bus sick child. Trapped in a warm, enclosed can... *bjork*

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Second Draft Done- Plans for Forward Motion

I've finished the second draft of He's The Weird Teacher- and other things students whisper about me. Somehow during the edit I added around 8,000 words, bringing the current total to about 73, 500 words. I added at least one chapter, maybe two between drafts because I remembered stories that I wanted to tell. I also found places where I wasn't clear and I needed to extrapolate more. Every writing class I've ever had tells me when you edit you're supposed to lose text, and I tried. I really did. I cut a bunch of things. I'm trying not to be precious with my words. But right now, at this moment, I've very happy with the product I have. I think it says everything that I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. I feel like it conveys my voice rather nicely. I've got the file shared with a couple of readers, who are in various places through the book. So far I'm getting good feedback. Lots of positive comments, and helpful edits. I'm asking my readers to to double duty as line editors and content checkers. They are asked to both make sure the words are spelled correctly and punctuation isn't bad, and also be sure the ideas therein aren't insane. It's been very helpful.
I don't have a completion timeline yet. I think I need to put the text to the side for a few days, let the readers read, and let the words cook before I go back in for another pass. I have decided to go the self publishing route. The company who helped my friend Vanessa get her excellent ultrarunning book, The Summit Seeker, published and for sale looks like the place for me. The price is right, they do all the work from converting the file into an e-pub to getting it on amazon to getting paperbacks out, leaving me with little to do but promote promote promote.
That's where you come in, dear readers. I'm going to be asking for lots of help when the book is finally real. Please share it with your teacher friends, your student-teachers friends, your friends who like teachers. Post in on Twitter and Facebook and Google+. All I'm going to have for promotion is word of mouth. I don't expect to make a ton of money on this, that's not why I wrote it. But it would be nice to sell a couple to people who don't know me personally. I'd be lying if I didn't secretly hope that somehow Jon Stewart's booking people got copies of it and they decided Jon would love to talk to me. That isn't a fake interview I've conducted in my head on long bike rides as far as you know. But Jon would really like the book. That's all I'm saying.
Anyway, that's where I'm at right now. I'd appreciate anyone who likes what they've read so far linking to this blog on their stuff, especially if your circles mix with circles of people who would probably enjoy the book. Every new person is a potential ripple. If you're on the twitters I'm hashtagging tweets about the book with #HesTheWeirdTeacher.
Thanks for reading. Monday I'll post another excerpt.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Flip Them the Bird!

*from a chapter on distractions*
Schools are placed where the unpredictable happens all the time. That is the result of having a large number of children of various levels and backgrounds collected in one place. A place where nature also exists. Nothing ruins a lesson like nature.
I have had birds fly through my classroom and perch on a stack of books. You could be Jaime Escalante, you are not getting anyone to focus on fractions with a bird in the room. That bird will be the center of attention until you can get it to fly away. How does one get a bird to fly out of a room? This wasn’t a class in college. It wasn’t a lesson. I took no Avian Distractions 101. I don’t want to chase it around the room with a yardstick. What if I hit it on accident? Do you want to murder or cripple a bird in front of your class? I don’t want to run at it wildly waving my arms and making hooting noises. What do birds, and most other animals, do when they are startled? Yeah, I don’t need to be cleaning that up, adding to the already ruined lesson. The best thing to do, it turns out, it to shut all the windows, turn off the lights, and open one door. The bird should fly to the light. Should. Otherwise I’m taking my class outside. I’m giving up the room to the bird. He wins. We yield.

Monday, April 15, 2013

First Draft Complete & Now Thinking On Next Steps

I finished the first draft of the book over the weekend. It came out to just over 65,000 words as it stands right now, which is perfectly fine for me. The whole idea going into it was that the book would be as long as the book would take. Most novels are suggested to be between 50-75k words minimum. Once I broke the 50k mark I was fine.
Now comes the hard part- editing. I've never been a great editor of my own work. I'm lucky in that I have a bunch of friends who are reading the book for me and who will hopefully help me find all the stupid mistakes. I'm going to have to read it too and fix all the words and sentences that got gobbeldy-gooked up going from my brain to my fingers to the page.
There's also the matter of publishing. I didn't write the book so that it sits on my computer, never to be seen by human eyes. I'm investigating different ways of getting it out there into the world. I've got a friend who self-published her own book and it seems to be doing very well. I'm looking into literary agents too. Right now I'm leaning towards the self-publishing route. I don't know. I'm torn between wanting to get it out there as soon as possible and wanting to feel like a real author, with an agent and an actual publisher and all that jazz. The punk rock DIY side of me is strongly pulled towards self-publishing.
Much like getting into teaching, I didn't write the book for the money. I wrote it to get my ideas into the world. I wrote it because I believe I've got things to say about teaching that can help people. I say it in the book, I don't think my way is The Best Way, but I do think it's a Damn Good Way. So I want to get it out there in a way that gets to the most people possible.
The thing is, I get the feeling book publishing is going to go the way of music distribution soon. It's getting very easy to release something as an e-book, market it yourself, put it on amazon, and sell that thing. I don't want He's the Weird Teacher to exist solely as an e-book, I want pages to hold and smell and sign and mail, but there's way to do that too. Kindle, Nook, and the like are going to revolutionize book sales much like mp3 players destroyed/are destroying the music industry.
I'll probably end up polishing a few chapters up real nice and emailing them out to an agent or two with a query letter. Couldn't hurt, right? What will actually end up happening is still up in the air.
As it stands, the editing is going to be the hard, painful part. I'm not great at it, but also not willing to pay a bunch of money to an editor. Counting on my skills and the skills of the wonderful readers I've enlisted. On the plus side, I've thought of cover art. No, you can't know about it yet. That's gotta have a big reveal! Drama!
Anyone know an agent or a publisher looking for a non-fiction book about teaching?

My Class is Strange

*from a chapter on talking about your class*
The teacher influences the classroom in every possible way. I know teachers who, according to them, always have a room full of pains. A room full of children who just won’t sit and learn like they should. Me? I always have a room full of weird kids. Every year I have 25 of the goofiest children I’ve ever seen. The teacher influences the class. If you have a room full of kids, the entire class or nearly entire class, who are giving you trouble, guess who the trouble actually is. I know exactly why I always have a strange group. I tell my students, “You are some of the weirdest children I’ve ever met. Why are you so weird?” They all know the answer without being told. “Our teacher is weird! We learn from the best!” Then I remind them that normal people are boring. Weird people make the more interesting friends. If every year your class feels off, then it isn’t the fault of the students in your class. This is a lesson in personal responsibility I drill into my student teachers. The buck stops with you. Thou Art The Teacher. Everything about your room, from the condition of the desks to the stuff on the walls to the test results to the overall class behavior reflects on you.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tiny Humans

*From a chapter about the having fun with students*

Tiny humans populate my school. Tiny humans of various levels of tininess. And it is the smallest of the small ones, to steal a phrase from Skippy Jon Jones, who are the most fun to mess with.
You wouldn’t think so. You would think kindergarteners would be the children you must be nicest to. That a person would have to treat them with kid gloves, as it were. *Side Note- What are kid gloves? Gloves you use when handling children? That seems rude. Are they gloves made out of kids? Obviously not human kids, don’t be ridiculous. Baby goats are called kids. I bet goat kid gloves would be quite soft. And with those goat kid gloves a person could work with a human kid without damaging them in any way. I’m glad we got this figured out. Anyway-*Kindergarteners are the youngest members of your school community, unless you’re lucky enough to also have pre-k, but they really are too small to mess with. Common knowledge states that adults must be always kind to small children. This ignored two simple facts- small children are human and small children are often much brighter than adults give them credit for.
In my class I refer to most kindergarteners as munchkins. When I need a go-to example of poor behavior I often talk about picking on, torturing, teasing, or otherwise bothering munchkins. The key to this not being bullying is to make it so ridiculous, so out of your mind nuts, that the children know you are playing around. Think about the Trunchbull and how she gets away with things. I steal from her all the time. I tell my students about the time I dangled a munchkin by his ears until they stretched three feet. I make mention of tossing one by her pigtails for distance. I am not a horrible teacher. I’ve read my class Matilda, it’s the very first book I read them. This fits in with the character I play in my classroom. Mr. Robertson, who says he doesn’t like children, especially (insert grade I’m currently teaching). In fact the only thing worse than (grade I’m currently teaching) is kindergarteners. I will occasionally substitute sixth graders for that, but sixth graders aren’t as good at taking a joke. Kindergarteners are very bright.