Who’s the Adult in the Room? A defense of Two Choices Technique and the Gangsta’

Why Two Choices Technique? Who’s the adult? This post will be written as an open letter to Mr. B. [you can see his full letter in the comments section of Two Choices and the Gangsta’]. This post and many of my writings in general are dedicated to any teacher or parent who has tried the … Read more

Sex Abuse 105: How Hollywood Romances Teach Sex Abuse

Hollywood Romance Movies Actually Teach Sex Abuse! What do Al Pacino, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Sean Connery, Kristin Scott Thomas, Arthur Godfrey (and too many others to list here) have in common? They’ve all made movies or records which show some sort of sex abuse and/or violence as the path to romantic love. Sex abuse … Read more

Sex Abuse 101: Mixed Messages

Sex Abuse is in the news again. Sex abuse is in the news again. We’ve heard very disturbing accounts from the accusers. We’ve heard strident denials from the ‘alleged’ offenders. And we’ve heard outrage from pundits and politicians. But we haven’t heard (much, if anything at all) from those parents and teachers, like me, who … Read more

How School Broke My Heart

Everybody Has a Story Talk to anyone, and no matter how great their childhood memories are, everyone can come up with some story of heartache caused by something at or about school. It might have been a mean teacher or a school bully . Maybe it was anxiety over some subject, grade or test. Whenever … Read more

Are You Gay?

Are You Gay? “Are You Gay?” Students have asked this question a lot in classrooms where I have taught, particularly when I was a substitute teacher. Why? Because it’s an easy way to derail a lesson. Once asked, it must be EFFECTIVELY answered or the class/lesson descends into homophobic giggling or worse. This isn’t about … Read more

When Does Empathy Become Enabling?

A Four Year Old in High School? There was a little girl running up and down the aisles in my summer-school Algebra class. Actually it wasn’t my class. I had taken it over as part of my duties as a utility, summer-school, substitute teacher. That summer, I did everything from security in the halls to … Read more

Middle School Terror

The First Day of Middle School It was the first day of school. I was working as a substitute PE teacher at one of the largest middle schools here in Los Angeles. This middle school had several multi-story buildings and was spread out over several acres and was a logistical nightmare for new students (and … Read more

Spring Valley High: What I would have done to avoid the assault.

You’re not asking the right questions. I have worked in some very violent, dangerous and/or stressful school situations. Most people just don’t know how tough it can be. Therefore I was saddened at the naive, hysterical reactions of the public, the news media and the commander of the officer in the Spring Valley High video. … Read more

Every Child Can Learn?

Blues singer Otis Spann once sang, I tried to tell the city boy what to do, But it looked like to me he just couldn’t learn. ‘…he just couldn’t learn.’  You might get away with saying that when singing the blues, but for teachers, we can never say a child can’t learn.  It’s considered giving … Read more

Don’t Shout! Oh Yeah?

“WHAT PART OF ‘BE QUIET’ ARE YOU HAVING TROUBLE WITH?” “Hey Man.  You don’t have to shout! “Oh Yeah?” What do you think?  The vast majority of books and teacher trainings tell us don’t shout.  Shouting teaches shouting, not quiet compliance.  That’s fine philosophy but there are times when it seems counterintuitive. Back when I … Read more


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