My Trashy Girlfriend: A Lesson on Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

My Trashy Girlfriend

I always believed that working at occupations other than teaching before I became a teacher was very beneficial. Doing other jobs helped me keep the joys, the challenges, and the frustrations of teaching in a manageable perspective. Those other jobs also gave me a rich background of examples to make my lessons more real and relatable. I’d recommend that all teachers get experience at things other than teaching before entering the field.

I’d done it all: bus boy; service station attendant; cab driver; construction laborer (a member of the Hod Carriers Union) and more and through all of it – professional musician. It was as a musician I learned something I later turned into life lessons for my kids. I learned that no matter how much you love your woman, when she gets banned from the biker bar where you are working you have to face it, “You’ve got a trashy girlfriend!”

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Busted for Shouting!

8.6.15 Shout.jpegI got busted by the police for excessive force!

Yes, a cop… busted me!!! for excessive force.  And when law enforcement complains of a teacher using excessive force, you’d think, ‘Wow that teacher must be out of control.’  Or would you?

Officer Bradshaw was talking with the Principal out on the P.E. field when they heard shouting coming from outside a classroom.  They turned to see a white male teacher shouting at a black female student.  (Start the body camera now) Bradshaw turned on his ‘body cam’, he couldn’t make out what was being said but it was obvious that the teacher and the girl were yelling at each other.  Then they stopped yelling and stomped back into the classroom (stop the camera).

Outraged (and probably feeling like he had the moral high ground), Bradshaw turned to the Principal and demanded, “Is THAT how your teachers talk to your students?”  The Principal said, “I don’t know what that was about, but I will find out.”

So, of course, I heard about it that afternoon.  Before I could say a word in my defense, I was hearing phrases like, “I expect better things from you… Have you any idea how embarrassing that was… What were you thinking?” and more.  To which I protested, “You guys weren’t there.  I had to shout at that girl just to get a word in edgewise.  I was only following school policy but she refused listen.”  “So you had to shout?”  “Yes!”  And before the week was out, I was vindicated by the Principal’s own actions.

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Drunks at School

Man drinking bottle of beerPeople often ask me if drugs were/are a problem at school.  I shock them by saying, “No, drugs aren’t a problem, they are a symptom of a problem or multiple problems.”  Then I add a second shock when I say, “And alcohol is the most abused drug I’ve encountered.”  So let me tell you about some drunks I discovered at school, what I told my students about it and the most outrageous true story of drunkenness that I have ever come across – how my brother went to sleep in his home and woke up in jail!

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I Saved A Life!

RACHEL, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 10: In front of the Little A'Le'Inn on November 10, 2013. An old tow truck hoists a UFO at the Little A'Le'Inn, which draws tourists from across the worldTeachers shape lives.  Teachers change lives.  And sometimes, teachers even save lives.  This is one of those stories.  Now don’t get me wrong.  It’s not about anything noble like taking a bullet or rushing into a burning building.  Nope.  Sorry.  It’s not about the day to day influence we exert that comes back to us years later when a former student lovingly says, “You helped me.”  No.  This is a story of how dumb luck and my Captain Bligh routine literally saved a kid’s life!

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Let’s Talk About Drugs

SugarTough Questions about Drugs

“Hey Mr. D.!  You were a hippie in college.  You did drugs didn’t you?”  Or…  “Hey Mr. D.!  You’re a musician.  I heard you playing that jazz music.  Come on Man, you smoked weed didn’t you?”

Boy!  Those are some tough questions.  Why?  Because parents and teachers know we have a responsibility to point our kids in the direction of the law abiding way to health and happiness but we also remember our own more foolish or dangerous life choices.  Parents have come to me and (in many varied forms) asked, “How do I talk to my kid about drugs (or sex) and not sound like a hypocrite when I think about some of the crazy stuff I did in my years of experimentation?  How do I warn them of potential dangers without sounding foolish or hysterical?  What do I say that will help me to gain or retain some respect or credibility?”

The Tightrope of Candor

Usually I’d have to speak to my kids after some whole school assembly warning our students about the dangers of drugs.  The older kids would be talking about what was wrong with what had been said in the assembly and then it would dawn on the kids to ask me about my past.  So I walked the tightrope of candor:

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