Passing of Time

Back in my old neighbourhood in Toledo, there was a house down the street from ours that had one tree in its front yard. I remember that tree because the leaves on its southern side, which faced the road, would always start changing to more fall-like colours in the early weeks of summer, and then start falling off in August, while the north-facing side of the tree wouldn’t go through that transition until early October, with the rest of the trees in the area. I…

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The Quickening

Airborne Covid-19: Updated CDC guidance acknowledges virus can spread through the air (CNN via MSN)Wisconsin surpasses 100,000 all-time cases of coronavirus (fox47.com) One of the things I missed out on this summer was the release of the yearly “Mindset List,” first produced at Beloit College but now a product of Marist College, which enumerates the cultural experiences that incoming first-year college students each year are likely to have been the first to experience, or not experience, or take for granted. This is something I always…

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The Home-to-Prison Pipeline

A School Called the Cops on a Black 12-Year-Old for Having a Toy Gun in His Own Home (Vice.com)I Refuse to Be the Pajama Police (weareteachers.com) Someone needs to come up with a new term to describe clichés that have been overused to the point where they’re a whole level worse than your garden-variety cliché. I’m not sure if the saying “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have” would qualify for such a classification, but I’d nominate it anyway just because…

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Teaching to a Virtual Wall

As with all other activities that involve some form of public speaking, one of the most common tips that new teachers receive is to practice spoken instruction out loud to an empty room, which is sometimes called “teaching to a wall.” This is a technique that I still sometimes employ, more than fifteen years into my teaching career, but only when it comes to those rare instances where I’m delivering more of a monologue to students. That kind of thing is necessary for the first…

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Faded (Wall-) Flower

In all the chaos of the September 11 attacks — I got the first report of the planes flying into the Twin Towers while I was getting ready to go to the University of Toledo for my classes that morning, my first class actually met like usual before the campus closed for the day, I didn’t get the afternoon off work (but I was able to leave long enough to fill my gas tank before prices spiked), and I spent hours in a “how could…

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