Archive for the ‘A Positive Spin’ Category

The March

This past Saturday I attended the Save our Schools (SOS) March in DC. It was great. It wasn’t a bagillion people, but it was a good crowd of several thousand, clearly very dedicated and/or pissed off educators. The general vibe was clear. Public education is on the wrong track, not just drastically, but spastically as well. There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction that any reform that anybody has enough money to propose and propagate is the Right Thing To Do. All you have to do is claim that your Read more [...]


MR. TEACHBAD will be there. Will you? TEACHERS!!!! Yes, you…weeding your garden. You…on the beach. You…playing with your children. You…drinking Bloody Marys at lunch. You…trying to find a cheap flight to San Diego. You…looking for a job. You…at your dad’s house. You…working on your curriculum. You…hiding in the corner. It’s time for all y’all to get up off your asses. If you are a teacher, you must know that your profession is undergoing a sustained, Read more [...]

A Funny Thing Happened At Work Today

I liked my job. This was highly unlikely because it was the first day back after spring break. I have been nuturing a pit of bitter anxiety about this day. It had been growing in my stomach, honestly, since before spring break even started. I would think to myself: it will be so awesome to be on spring break; no kids, administrators, lesson plans, etc. for 11 days. But then, before that thought had really had a chance to develop and come into its own; and before I really had a chance to revel Read more [...]

Geography of School

There is something that has been pissing me off all year…and I thought I knew what it was. It was right there, in front of me all year. Sort of. And I sort of sensed it. But I didn’t really get it until last week. And it’s not what you think it’s going to be; the regular cocktail of assholes, dummies and meetings. It wasn’t dummies at meetings. It wasn’t assholes sending me emails about meetings. It wasn’t feeling like an asshole or a dummy because I actually came to this meeting. It wasn’t Read more [...]

Happy Holidays, Teachers!!

Just a quick note to wish all of you all the best during the season of Christmakwanzikah. Enjoy your break. I know you have earned it. I just finished grading a bunch of papers and I am ready to party a little bit. I’ve got family in town. My brother-in-law is into making up his own cocktails. Cheers to that. We are cooking up a turkey tonight (for some reason). Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, will be a traditional multi-course Polish meal (no meat, fish only) and opening of the presents. That night, Read more [...]

Planning and Improv

Today in my class something pretty cool happened. I was teaching the fundamental principles of the US Constitution. They way I teach it, there are six. I put my students into six groups. Each group was to create a poster that did three things. It was to 1) define or explain the principle, 2) create some sort of drawing that represents this principle, and 3) write a poem/song/rap/etc that expresses the idea of this principle. (Multiple learning styles in da house.) Then each group would teach their Read more [...]

Credit Where Credit Is Due

I am happy to announce that the administration of my school has relaxed a most cumbersome element of the student dress code. From now on, boys will not have to tuck in their shirts. (Girls never had to for some reason never explained.) This is great news and a significant concession to common sense. We teachers spent a great deal of time (well, not me) telling boys to tuck in there shirts. Nobody ever seemed quite sure why we did this. We just did. (Again, not me.) I truly want to give the admin Read more [...]

Mr. Teachbad Goes Soft

Regular readers of this blog will know that I generally tend to highlight the absurd of this job. I discuss that which enrages, embitters and saddens. These are the things that make me laugh. And without laughter, Mr. Teachbad becomes dangerous. But today I’d like to discuss something different. As I have mentioned, I teach mostly seniors. These cats are ready to go. They are as done with Mr. Teachbad’s bullshit as he is with theirs. But in the midst of all of the craziness of the end of senior Read more [...]

It’s All About The Music, Man

Though most grudgingly And without full admission They’ve slowly come ‘round They will ask for my music Steely Dan, Zappa, and Beck I love this. I love playing music they’ve never heard, that sounds kinda strange…that they can’t help but think is cool and want to know more about and hear louder. This week I had a student who asked me to play Bob Dylan because she remembered it from a class last year. I had another student who just didn’t do anything and was really having a hard time in my Read more [...]