In which a Minneapolis teacher brings a loaded gun to school.

No. Just no.

Bikers Against Child Abuse Make Abuse Victims Feel Safe

"These tough bikers have a soft spot: aiding child-abuse victims. Anytime, anywhere, for as long as it takes the child to feel safe, these leather-clad guardians will stand tall and strong against the dark, and the fear, and those who seek to harm."

This is a beautiful story. It might make you cry. It will be worth it.

Field Day

The fifth-graders in the “rough” part of the city have been waiting for this all year: the dash to the rock on the hill and back. This is their chance to make their mark, to be legends before moving on to middle school.

The gym teacher dramatically announces the all-time record and waves the flag. Dozens of feet pound across the field and up the hill, they reach for the rock, and they’re back already.

"We have a new record!" announces the gym teacher, and congratulates the new champion, who seems proud but stunned.

The other kids move on to tug-of-war, but the champion stays behind, talking to a friend. “I knew I could do it,” he says, in awe of his own power. “I had a feeling I could do it, but I wasn’t sure I really could.”

"A frog!" someone calls out, and all the kids gather around to see.

A teacher on the scene has them all sit down in a circle and pass the frog around. Tug-of-war can wait.

"Does anyone know what frogs are called when they’re born?" she asks. The frog is passed from one set of little hands to the next, the kids beaming in delight and a little squeamishness.

"Tadpoles!" someone calls.

"That’s right," she says. "Watch how it breathes. Right now it’s breathing in air, you can see how its throat expands. But it can also breathe underwater. Because it can breathe both in air and water, it’s called an amphibian."

Even the few kids afraid to hold the frog are grinning ear-to-ear. But eventually tug-of-war calls, and we release the frog to the woods. The teacher guides them to their next activity, but I spend the rest of my afternoon chasing kids back from frog-hunting in the woods. It’s a beautiful day.

Such good news! Now can we let immigrants pursue higher education, too?

(via Obama administration to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants -
About time! 

Such good news! Now can we let immigrants pursue higher education, too?


(via Obama administration to stop deporting some young illegal immigrants -

About time! 


I know that music performance classes are often larger than your typical class.

But seriously…


Second grader: So are you married or what?!
Me: No. Are you?
Second grader: Divorced.
Me: I see.
Second grader: Married once. But then she got run over by a truck.
Me: Oh. I'm sorry to hear that.
Second grader: No, I'm just kidding. We got divorced because she turned into a zombie.
Me: Oh my goodness.
Second grader: She fell asleep on top of me on the couch, and when she woke up, she was a zombie, so I had to hit her with a blender.
Me: Oh. Well. We shouldn't hit people with blenders, right?
Second grader: Well, what would you do if there was a zombie trying to eat you?!

hithertokt said: I seem to keep missing you on my dash lately, so came directly to the source to get the fix/updates. And while I'm here, just wanted to drop a line and remind you that I think you're awesome. #theend

Aw, thanks! One reason you may not have been seeing my posts as frequently is that I have not been posting as frequently…I’ve been keeping really busy with a lot of really good things. But I am making an effort to increase the updates! More soon!

Ladies, gentlemen, and people of all genders: may I present a love story from the Minneapolis Public Schools, as recorded by Storycorps.

Warning: this is seriously adorable.


Running late for a 7 am start time, I grab a bag of nuts and an apple and plan to eat breakfast before class starts. I’m setting up for the day, reading the lesson plan, when the school nurse walks in.

"Have you ever been here before?" she asks, looking worried.


"We have some students with SEVERE allergies," she tells me. "Make sure you look through your folder."

Normally when I sub in an elementary school, I might see one or two medical plans about students with allergies in the folder. But in this folder they just keep coming. To be fair, the art teacher during the week has every student in the school. But even so, there are at least three students in every class that have what are labeled LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGIES. Fifty, sixty, seventy plans.

What is going on? I wonder. Is this school some kind of magnet for kids with severe allergies?

"I guess I should put these nuts away," I say sheepishly.

The nurse nods. “And the apple,” she adds severely. “We have some students with raw fruit allergies.”

I never, ever teach without eating breakfast. But I put my food away.

"If you see a student coughing," she says, "don’t hesitate to call 911."

"If they’re COUGHING?" I repeat.

Read More

Every good boy deserves fudge? What’s a good boy? I’ve never heard of a good boy.

3rd grade girl, music class.

The Snarky Sub Makes Friends.

Usually as a sub it’s hard to make connections in the buildings where you come and go, but I’ve been getting along great with my colleagues in the ESL classroom where I’ve been working. It’s Teacher Appreciation Week, and they are getting paraded with candy and T-shirts and who knows what else.

"Probably the reason there isn’t a Substitute Teacher Appreciation Day is that everybody figures that substitute teachers are appreciated enough already," I muse.

Many of these teachers have been subs themselves and think this is hilarious. “Yeah,” agrees one spunky young teacher my age. “We don’t want you guys to get narcissistic.”

The spunky young teacher and I head to the office to cash in on the cookies the teachers’ union has brought us. There’s a nice note there about how teachers are unsung heroes but everything they do matters and will be appreciated someday. We walk down the hall contentedly munching our cookies.

"It was nice of the teachers’ union to bring us cookies," I say.

"Yeah!" agrees my new friend.

"I would prefer collective bargaining rights,” I add.

She nearly spits out her cookie in laughter. “But cookies are nice,” she chortles.

And we spend the rest of our break at a coffeeshop sharing our life stories.

Substitute Teacher Appreciation Day

Apparently this exists only in Oregon.

Thanks, Oregon. I appreciate you, too.

Six-year-old: Who are you here for?
Me: Today I'm here for Ms. S. See? I have her name tag.
Six-year-old: You switched costumes??

And then sometimes I get to teach the Latin Grammys.

"Latinoamérica," by Calle 13. Winner of the 2011 Latin Grammy for best song.