Monday, March 25, 2013

Tie Shopping

**This is in a chapter about how I dress as a professional teacher, and how that conflicts with my inner self**

So I also bought nice ties. I went to the store and browsed the tie racks. So many colors. Some of them are shiny, some more flat. Too many with patterns, I don’t want a tie with patterns, that’s not me. As I looked at the ties I started running my dress shirts through my head. Would this go with that? Should I spend this much on a tie that will only really work with one shirt?
Then I found one. A Great Tie. A deep red with a slight sheen. Would be great with the black and dark-colored shirts I have, and I could probably make it work with one or two others. It needs a tie tack. Tie tacks look nice. Here’s a good one. I excitedly took my finds to the cash register who rung me up. I’m going to look brilliant. Won’t the boss be impressed with my tie.
It wasn’t until I got in the car that I realized what I’d done. I’d gotten excited about buying a tie. Unironically, unself-consciously, totally honestly excited about buying a tie. My heart sank. I never was cool, but this is different. This isn’t even metal. In my head I pictured what was happening in my house. I knew it had to be true. As I was buying the tie, as I was excitedly picking it out and whipping out my wallet, someone was breaking into my room. A shadowy figure. Its hand reaches out, grazing my wall of CDs, searching. Searching. I swipe my debit card and the hand finds what it’s looking for. A Pantera CD. The live album, one of the best live recordings ever. So brutal. The hand removes the CD and I grab the bag with my newly purchased tie. And as I turn to walk away from the counter the hand puts new music in place of my Pantera CD. It would be there, waiting for me when I got home. Mocking me. A Best of Sting album.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The History of Tetherball

**This goes in a chapter about recess games**

According to facts I’m making up as I go, tetherball was invented in ancient Macedonia over 400 years ago by villagers. They would take cabbages which had someone gone rotten and string them to free standing poles which were normally used to hold the cloth roofs over market stalls. Obviously, this would be done after the work day was over as a way to unwind. I realize you might think they would have used the heads of their enemies, or maybe sacrifices, but it only took a few broken knuckles to realize their error there. Cabbage was in high supply, durable, and soft enough not to hurt that much, unless one accidentally punched the small metal ring punched through the cabbage to hold it to the string. That, and this is a direct translation from the Ancient Tetherball Texts of Macedonia, “Hurt like the dickens.” Tetherball was lost to history when ancient Macedonia fell and might have stayed that way if not for the efforts of one archeologist by the name of Dr. Roland T. Tether. He was not the first one to discover the ruins of Macedonia, in fact he was one of the last. But his tardiness did yield a reward when he discovered the preserved hand bones of Macedonian children and he was able to x-ray them, discovering the unusual fracture pattern. He put this evidence together with the petrified cabbages his team found, which had of course been ignored by previous expeditions because really, who cares about petrified cabbages? From this evidence he was able to recreate the game using a leather bladder in the place of the cabbage, which was a much more sturdy and less destructible choice. He then taught the game to his children, who brought friends over to their home to play. Soon the game caught on across the neighborhood and the local school marm asked Dr. Tether to instal one of his devices at the schoolhouse as a way for children to develop their hand-eye coordination during break times. The rest, as they say, is tetherball history.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Start...

My name is Doug Robertson, and I am a fourth grade teacher. I currently live in Hawaii. I love my job. And I'm writing a book about it.
Well, kind of. It's a book about teaching. And about being a teacher, which is different from teaching. It's a book with stories from my classroom and stories about my kids. It's also a book about my philosophy of teaching. How I feel about teaching and what I think the proper ways to do it are. Well, the proper ways for me. One of my big things, which you'll probably read about a lot, is that teaching is a performance art. And as an art form everyone does it a little (or a lot) differently.
This book will be a little silly, because I'm a fairly silly person and I can be an extremely silly teacher. It will probably be weird. Most of my students are weird. So is the person who teaches my students. It will, of course, have it's serious parts. I am very serious when it comes to talking about the whys of teaching, even when the topic is fun. Teaching is serious business that, I feel, is best done with a sense of humor. And it will probably have sad moments. Every teacher has a pocket full of stories they wish they didn't know.
Here's the thing, though. My book isn't done. It's barely started, really. I'm still at the start of the first draft. It is entirely possible that this whole endeavor could take years. I'm a busy guy with a brand new baby and a lot on my plate. I'll work on it when I can.
Everything here will eventually be in the book in some form (except this). I'm not going to post whole chapters, just excerpts. Think of it as teasers. Mostly this is because I'm pretty proud of my writing and I want some of it to be out in the world already. It's also because maybe one of you knows a publisher and can send them my way.
The book is called He's the Weird Teacher: and other things students whisper about me. It'll be done when it's done. Thanks for playing along.

- Doug