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I am a Teacher Because

I am a Teacher Because

I am a Teacher Because

I am a teacher because my mother was a teacher. She doesn’t talk much about being a teacher other than to say she was given the worst of the worst students. People had given up on her students but my mother decided she was going to make them learn. When I have tough days (we all have tough days in our profession), my mother tells the story to me. She tells me about the kids she had that couldn’t read, write, or do math. But the headmaster of the school gave the new teacher (my mother) the most challenging students anyways. She sent them home with the assignment to collect 100 of something. She taught them how to add, subtract and multiply. Hearing that story on tough days reminds me anyone can make a difference, not matter how inconsequential you think your actions are. I am a teacher because my mother believed in everyone.

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Fatherhood and Teaching

Fatherhood and Teaching

My first real interaction with Chris came a few weeks into our freshmen year of high school.  We were in a pickup game during after school intramurals and I had the ball at the three point line.  Chris was guarding me.  I was very aware of who he was – this was the 13-year-old who could already dunk!  As any proud former 8th grade all-star would do, I decided to see what he was all about.  I made a move and drove right by him! 

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Making the Best of a Situation

Making the Best of a Situation

I tell lots of stories. One of the stories I don’t think I’ve ever told stretches back to the last birthday party I had in 3rd grade.

Having a birthday in December meant I had just changed schools that previous fall. Beginning the school year at a catholic school in a neighboring town, I didn’t think to invite many kids from my previous town (and school). However, I did invite my best friend, Ari. He was known to have a good time and get a little out of control like myself. He always managed to keep it together just a little bit more than myself, so he made for a good governor.

3rd Grade Birthday Party

At my 3rd grade birthday party, I asked my dad to have it at an ice rink. Ari, was the only friend I invited from my old school. Everyone else was from the new school I was attending.

After a few laps of skating the rink, I found I wasn’t having much fun. Something inside was telling me that the party wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The skating rink seemed something like my new friends from the parochial school would be interested in. My old friends wouldn’t know what to make of it. Internally, I felt I wasn’t really into it.

It didn’t matter, I convinced myself to keep up the facade. No matter what, I had to make believe I was having a good time. Otherwise my father wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.

Within a few minutes my best friend Ari came up to me and said, “This isn’t fun!” I knew he was right. But I wanted to impress my new friends. I kept on skating around the rink and hoped Ari would act more like them. I pretended I had a headache. Ari did silly things to get me to laugh.

Hindsight is 20/20

As much as I wanted to laugh and have a good time with him, I didn’t bother. By the end of the day, I just hung out by myself. My new friends from the parochial school loved Ari and I was miserable. The party hadn’t turned out how I wanted it to. Ari was the star of the show. People wanted to hang out with him. I was supposed to be the big deal but no one seemed to notice.

As I look back on the situation with 20/20 vision I realize now I shouldn’t have compromised who I was. At the time I knew it too. I didn’t trust myself enough to be happy being myself (who I was inside). I thought assimilating to the new culture was more import. Since then, every day I kicked myself for leaving Ari left out in the wind trying to make me laugh by have a good time.

Now, I am an adult and I hope my children don’t make the same mistake I made as a child. I pray they will be themselves no matter who is in front of them. I hope and pray they will unapologetically be themselves. As dad, I’ll clean up the pieces proudly so my children grow to be themselves.

 

Wake up America!

Wake up America!

I never thought I’d live to see the day when I’d see a man gunned down on television. I never thought I’d see their killer walk free months later to restart their life after a not guilty verdict. This has become so common I can’t imagine what my children will grow up seeing when they are my age.

They told me, “Trust the system.” But the system isn’t working for everyone.

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Why I Write about Books

Why I Write about Books

I am a late reader. It took nearly 25 years for me to become a reader. One fateful weekend, there were no captivating shows on TV and video games couldn’t quench the hunger of my imagination. While I looked On-Demand for nearly 2 hours I realized what my mother told me decades before, “Pick up a book!”

I googled topics I was interested in and eventually found The Prince of Thorns. I bought the book through Amazon and read it on my wife’s Kindle. I devoured the book and finished reading it one sitting. By the end of the weekend, I ordered my own Kindle and I haven’t had time for video games since.

Why I Read

Books take you on a journey you couldn’t otherwise go on. As a fantasy lover, I can become a deadly sword-smith. I can challenge the notions of capitalism, manifest destiny, right & wrong, and explore my moral compass.

TV and video games have never let me explore imagination in the same way. They lack the emotional detail and substance books force you to face. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to veg out and watch TV but authors make you believe characters in books are your friends. You grown up with them, you experience character’s trials and tribulations. You want what characters want and need what they need.

When I’m not busy reading fiction, I am lost in books challenging social hierarchies and the status quo. Everybody loves a hero, right? That is why we believe our vote matters. WE believe in our hearts one person can make a difference.

Why I Write about Books

I write about books because I want everyone to read books. Reading provides opportunities to challenge the way you think about your own life. The books I read motivate me to be better than I was the day before. The books encourage me to challenge the status quo, battle against the odds, or overcome inner demons while ascending to greatness. Who wouldn’t want to read about that?

Check out the category Literacy Life at the top of the page for more posts about books. You should also read the Book Review in the side bar for a list of fantasy titles. Are you reading something that forces you to think? Is there something you’ve read to make you push your comfort level? Share it with me. I’d love to read it and write about it.

Books and Hoops is Making Progress

Books and Hoops is Making Progress

The Books and Hoops program has made tremendous progress. Over the past few weeks I’ve been in touch with an up and coming graphic artist to create a logo. An IT consultant and I have been working to build a website. Business contacts have provided feedback to build a successful program. Most importantly, I’ve been in touch with two schools to begin the Books and Hoops program.

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Looking for Book Lovers and Literacy Specialists

Looking for Book Lovers and Literacy Specialists

Book Lovers, Teachers, Literacy Specialists

Avid readers and writers, I’d love to pick your brain on anything literacy. Teachers, book lovers, literacy specialist, you all have seen nearly every kind of reluctant reader and energetic reader. I want talk about success of building a reading life, possible book titles to share with kids or anything else you think important to developing the love for reading.

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Balancing Parenting and Work

Balancing Parenting and Work

My kids are always on my mind. Work has an interesting way of shinning a spotlight on thoughts of my children throughout the day. As a teacher, I work with nine and ten year olds. My students do things that remind me of my children. Once I leave the classroom, I go to the high school to coach 14 and 15 year olds. My players do even more things reminding me of my children. With so much happening at work, my life needs to balance out.

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Crown of Three Book Review

Crown of Three Book Review

I read a lot of books as a teacher. Not just for myself, I do it so I can recommend books for my students. Most of the books I enjoy are fantasy. For good reason too. In a fantasy book, you can tackle real world issues by removing controversial people and substituting them for an outrageous villain. In Crown of Three by J.D. Rinehart, it is no different. Real world problems such as fitting in, being abandoned, growing up too fast, and making difficult decisions come to the forefront for the main characters in a split second.

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