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Entry date: 5-17-2023 - Never Use Tempera Paint in Class - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Yesterday was a long day. Not only was it departure day for Rhondi and Doug, it was also just a long day at work. My students are done. Cooked. Ready to fly and be free, yet we still have a couple more days where we are expected to teach. It’s a fun time of year, for sure, on many levels and by fun, I really mean, “Totally fucked.”

I am more convinced than ever that most of my students simply don’t want to be challenged to think. Thinking and problem solving is hard and these kids don’t really want to do anything that is hard. I’m also convinced that many of my fellow teachers don’t want to challenge kids either. When I bring up this issue in staff meetings, I get the strangest looks. This is just wrong.

I guess it will be up to me and teachers like me to turn things around. I’m up for the challenge, for sure, and I’m also willing to do the work to figure out a way to challenge my students to think and be willing to take a few chances without making it scary. I am quickly coming around to the idea that I need to start thinking about the old sales skills I used to teach and let the kids conclude that they are making the decision to work (and work hard).

Sales 101, right?

It’s all about approach. I have to start challenging my students next year to go above and beyond from day one. I want a class full of little kickass, but imperfect, problem solvers. It’s going to be more work but laying the ground work for big things will pay dividends in the end.


I’m into day three of no sports radio and it’s really weird. I’m reading the news online, but not tuning my radio to 98.7 is just so odd to me. I almost cracked yesterday but decided to stick with NPR. I wonder, at what point, will I just let it go and not want to check in on what is happening on the local channels? Maybe a few weeks? I’ve been listening to sports talk radio the majority of the time I am in the car driving around town for almost 30 years.

That’s a long time.

I’ve thought about what a good balance of music and news and sports would be, but I haven’t decided on a plan just yet. Perhaps I could just pick either the way to work or the way home. I don’t know what to do. Right now, though, cutting that out seems like a good thing.

On a positive note, I listened to a demo by a band that was really good. It was something a PR person I dig sent me about a year ago and, “Damn!” I’ve been missing out. Of course, the disc is in my car and the band name is escaping me, but it’s quite fun to listen to. Sure, it is a bit all over the place and I think it was a studio project for a songwriter that doesn’t sing because there are four different vocalist on it, but they are good and the riffs are great.

I can start putting those thousand or so CDs to use.


Tempera paint is

messy when fourth graders are

dumb and lazy, man.


First real night by myself. Uggh. I don’t count last night because it just didn’t seem real yet, but today it will.

See you tomorrow.

Missing my friend, Stevie D., today. He would tell me not to sweat it, be a good man, and do my best.

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