Blame it on the Irish!

Lakeshore Drive and Chicago SkylineGuatemalan vs. Mexican, Italian vs. Irish

Maria had a large woven woolen bag that had Guatemala embroidered on it.  I asked her if she was Guatemalan and she said, “I’m half Guatemalan and half Mexican.”

Remembering my own childhood being half Irish and half Italian and the crazy family arguments that condition seemed to generate I had to ask, “Does that ever cause any family arguments like, ‘The Mexican way is better,’ ‘No, the Guatemalan way is better,’ and things like that?”

Maria rolled her eyes, laughed and said, “All the time!”

I told her, “Yeah in my family too!  All my dad’s Italian sisters married Irishmen (except for Aunt Teresa who married my Polish uncle Bob because he was such a sweetie) and it seemed like at every family gathering there was at least some debate about the merits of each family ethnicity.”  I learned early on that these debates could get quite heated (loud) and acrimonious but I had no idea how far reaching this divide could be until my dad threw it on the police!

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Terror as a Teaching Tool? Do the Haka!

MaoriWardanceKahuroaI never considered myself a terrifying person, but apparently I am.  I would never recommend using terror as a teaching tool, but this time apparently it worked.  This is a case of, “oh the gift that God could give us, to see ourselves as others see us!”  You never know what people (students) will take away from our encounters (lessons).  You see…

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The Greatest Shame

12.8.14 Guilt iStock_000005994502SmallWe got fighters.

One semester we had a group of dedicated fighters.  They (guys and girls!) got into a big fight at a local park with kids from another school.  We know this because it was in the early days of YouTube and the kids had video recorded the action, posted it and then bragged about it.  As soon as we adults saw the videos we made sure the police were notified and we had YouTube take down the videos.  The video pugilists were expelled from school.

Sadly, while investigating those public crimes, we discovered evidence of an even more heinous crime which had been perpetrated right under our noses at school!  What shamed me the most about it was the fact that, in my eyes, I/we had done everything right and yet I was still unable to protect one of my kids.

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Eye of Eagle – Foot in Mouth

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI had earned a reputation as a hard guy.  I was told that there were times when I was used as a threat.  Other adults on campus would tell students, “You better behave or I’ll transfer you to Mr. D.‘s class!”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a teacher not an ogre.  Some kids who liked my style of teaching would actually ask to transfer into my classes.  I was only a threat to behavior problems because I seemed to have eyes in the back of my head; I was constantly on guard; I have a painfully loud, drill instructor’s voice; and I would regularly stalk about the room like Captain Bligh inspecting everything.

The reality is I’m just a good actor.  I’m a burnt marshmallow, dark and crusty on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside.  I just kept it hidden.  It was good for business.

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