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What Students Really Need to Hear

gintaraskgz:

A teacher speaks out.

Originally posted on affectiveliving:

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be…

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Advice for parents of college students

This week’s installment of True Community, my column about men and education, doesn’t really offer any advice, so I’ll do it here. Parents, don’t call your children’s professors to offer excuses or discuss what can be done about grades. It will most often backfire.

I hope you’ll read about the phone call I got from a mom last week. The article’s titled My Son Got Arrested But It’s Not His Fault.

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College graduate who drives a taxi

This week, I got driven to work by a taxi driver who actually graduated from the college where I teach. He earned his liberal arts associates degree in 2003 and has been toiling through the remainder of a math and teaching degree ever since. I was so moved by his story that I profiled him in this week’s True Community, which I hope you’ll read and share.

taxi

 

Photo by Antony Mayfield.


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Teen pregnancy epidemic

Today’s True Community article deals with teen pregnancy, an issue that’s very important to me, and not merely as an educator. I’m using an extreme word, epidemic, in the title of this blog post perhaps unfairly; efforts to bring down the teen pregnancy rate have been working, and currently we’re at historic lows for all US ethnic and racial groups.

Still, in my environment I see it all the time, and it causes problems we’re all familiar with. I really think we need a shift in the consciousness surrounding our concept of sex education. We have to get over our puritanical point of view and give people information that can keep them from making poor decisions.

This week I profile a pair of students that I had some time ago. Their stories are sad but important. I hope you’ll check it out.

young-couple

 

Photo by Mike Baird


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Reading at Tuesday Funk (Chicago)

I’m very happy to announce that I’ll be reading at Tuesday Funk, one of the best reading series in Chicago.

Chicago-area fans should save the date. This May 6th, 7:30 PM, I’ll be reading a section of “A Safe Place,” the chapter from Finding the Moon in Sugar. I don’t know who’s joining me in the lineup, but the night is usually about a two-hour event and features 5-7 readers, each reading for about 10-15 minutes.

The May reading has yet to be announced officially on the Tuesday Funk blog, but you can check here for updates.

Hope to see you.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait


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On snot, a parenting episode

My children have recently figured out that snot makes for a funny topic and a fascinating substance. I’m surprised by how often they eat their own snot. I was not this kind of child—I’ll admit I have tasted snot in my adulthood out of something like childhood curiosity, but I have never actually swallowed it. In this way, my kids are completely different from me. They get in there and yum.

The other week, my son—he is two—started picking his nose on our public transit train. When he scored a winner, he tried to give the snot to a fellow passenger. The woman smiled at me, giggling a bit, but she told my son, “No, thank you.” My boy then wiped the snot on his jacket and smirked as if to say, “Your loss.”

My daughter—she’s five—thinks snot is really delicious. She refuses to share it. When I sit with her watching a film or listening to music, she’ll freely and openly dig in for some slime and eat it. When I tell her that snot plants trees in people’s stomachs, and that these trees grow out of the throat and ears, extending branches through the eyeballs, she’ll say, “I asked mom and she said this is just fantasy.”

 

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