Category Archives: work

The Trouble with Textbooks

College students outraged over $999  online textbook (channel3000.com) One of the primary guiding principles of my teaching career, if not my whole life, is to never forget where I came from. While I could cite many examples of how that principle guides my non-teaching life, my bad experiences as a K-12 student have done a lot to shape how I approach my work as a teacher. Even when I was still a student in those classrooms, I could see how some teachers were inflicting misery…

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Post-Pyrrhic and Punch-Drunk

Five weeks ago, I blogged about a very problematic turn of events for me. On the one hand, the leading book review organization Kirkus Reviews had posted an incredibly positive review of my first novel, The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban. For many authors, getting this kind of a review can be career-making , and it was coming as I headed into a summer where I didn’t have any teaching work. Getting this review in front of as many people as possible became a top priority for me,…

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Careering Into Catastrophe

Trump Plan To Merge Labor, Education Departments Could Undermine Them Both (Huffington Post via MSN) As the Fred Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? opens in theatres, it’s important to revisit one of Mister Rogers’ most famous quotes, and my personal favourite of his: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.” You’ve probably seen this quote in meme form on your social media feeds…

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The Littlest Victims

Kids banned from field day if they owe lunch money. School says there’s a $55,000 tab (nj.com) Inside the old Walmart where 1,500 undocumented immigrant kids are being held (Vice News) Every class I teach, I make a point of trying to hold class outside at least once during the term. This tends to be easier in some terms that others (it’s almost impossible to hold a summer term class outside, due to the heat), and I’ve had my fair share of outside classes get…

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The New P-Word

A little over a week ago, I received one of the best pieces of news I’ve gotten in several months. Kirkus Reviews, a very prominent book review magazine, posted an online review of my first novel, The Prostitutes of Lake Wiishkoban, that was highly complimentary of my work (to say the least). Quotes like “Shannon’s … fiction debut is an entertaining, provocative bildungsroman that successfully turns an unconventional premise into a thoughtful exploration of freedom and identity” are the kind of thing that authors like me dream…

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