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Showing posts from September, 2012

Guns Don't Kill People... Oh Wait, They Do.

I don't know anything more about this story than is told in the article.  Unknown gunman shooting at a house, hit a sleeping 11-year old, expected to survive.  However, I know this much: this is not a unique occurrence.  It made it to the news because it injured an innocent kid.  Sometimes those stories don't make it.  Sometimes they miss the kid and everyone just goes on with their lives.

In my second year of teaching, I got a note that said, "Please excuse my daughter from not doing her homework.  The gangs was shooting and she had to sleep in the closet."  Other kids would talk about sleeping in the bathtub in case bullets from drive-by shootings went through walls, they probably wouldn't go through the bathtub too.  I was so shocked that I didn't even know how to respond. 

These kids live like this.  Not once in their lifetime, but many, many nights, they hear shooting and they are afraid, they sleep in the closet or the bathtub to give the bullet more ob…

How To Outsmart a Teenage Boy, Part II

I often tell people that my strength isn't teaching, per se, it's my ability to have a relationship with my students.  Part of that relationship is getting them to do what I know they need to do, and as any parent or teacher knows, this involves a fair amount of manipulation, for their own good.  I don't mean pathological manipulation, I mean healthy manipulation.

I first wrote about outsmarting teenage boys here.  I had another episode with a boy I'm tutoring and I was very proud of myself.

Me: I need you to read your writing aloud so that you can catch your mistakes.

Him: That is too embarrassing.  If I do that, I will be embarrassed.

Me: Is that a picture of you in a TeleTubby costume on the wall?

Him: Fine, I'll read it.

This is what I mean by "healthy manipulation."  We could have wasted the whole session arguing.  Instead, it took 20 seconds, he caught his mistakes, he realized how to edit his own writing, (and I think he liked the attention of me n…