Education, Teaching, Uncategorized

Just Ask

Ask      the girl crying in the washroom.

Ask      the custodian with a twisted back.

Ask      the boy with a fresh bruise.

Ask      the two kids holding hands.

Ask      the boy praying for his life in the stairwell.

Ask       the new kid.

Ask      the girl giving a blowjob in the washroom.

Ask      the boy doodling dragons in class.

Ask       the Principal (but only if she knows your name).

Ask      the supply teacher that doesn’t know who to call for help.

Ask      Gregory Doucette.

Ask      the VP that doesn’t know how to say ‘no’.

Ask      the attendance secretary.

Ask      the kid waiting for the library to open.

Ask      the teachers in the staffroom, workroom and book room.

Ask      the kid that just signed out.

Ask      the history teacher just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

Ask      the school nurse.

Ask      the young girl that wishes she were invisible.

Ask      the young boy that forgot to gel his hair.

Ask      the boy that forgot his lunch.

Ask       the kid with Tourette’s.

Ask       the mouse that only comes out at night.

Ask       the boy who needs a bath.

Ask       Mr. Bukowski.

Ask       the school social worker.

Ask      the girl that was just called a ‘slut’.

Ask       the kid that changes his route everyday.

Ask      the kid losing his hair.

Ask       Jordan Manners.

Ask      the boy that just found a knife.

Ask      the girl that carved ‘fuck life’ on the back of her hand.

Ask      the boy that wants to be a girl.

Ask      they’ll all tell you: the hallways at school can be a terrifying place.

Education, Literacy, Teaching

How to Find Out What’s Really Happening in Schools

  1. If you want to know just how serious your child’s school takes literacy, don’t use the province wide test as a marker- visit the school’s library.
  2. If you want to know how your child’s school values their health, visit the school cafeteria.
  3. If you want to know just how serious your child’s school values their ability to think, ask them how many multiple choice questions made up their final exam.
  4. If you want to see how your child is really doing in math, give them the grocery money and let them do the shopping. NOTE: They can’t spend a penny more or less. They are not allowed to use a calculator.
  5. If you want to see if your child’s school values differentiated instruction, ask them about their most recent assignment and how it was different from the last one that they handed in.
  6. If you want to see if your child really is information literate, ask them to search for something without using Google.
  7. If you want to see if your child cheats on assignments for school, ask them to write their next essay, in front of you, without using a computer.
  8. If you want to see how serious your child’s school values history, social justice and empathy, visit in February and ask about what’s scheduled for Black History Month. 
  9. If you want to know how safe your child’s school is don’t just ask the Principal – speak to the social worker, youth worker and the custodian.
  10. If you want to see if your child is learning anything at school, don’t look at their report cards- just ask them.
  11. If you really want to see if your child is prepared for the future, take a look at how much the education system has changed since you were in school.
  12. If you want your child to succeed, don’t put your failures in life on them. Let them choose their path; choice is everything (unless, of course, it comes in the form of a multiple choice question). 

Russell Peters Punches Back

One of the great quotes in The Great Gatsby is the narrator’s, Nick Carraway,  take on the brutish Tom Buchanan. He describes Daisy’s husband as, “…one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven — a national figure in a way, one of those men who reach such an acute limited excellence at twenty-one that everything afterward savors of anti-climax.”

Tom was a man that achieved so much fame and acclaim in his early years that everything after that was anti-climatic. Translation: His best years were behind him. If you’ve read the book you know what type of man he is. If you haven’t read the book, this is what he does to his mistress after she teases him about his wife:

“Daisy! Daisy! Daisy!” shouted Mrs. Wilson. “I’ll say it whenever I want to! Daisy! Dai ——”

Making a short deft movement, Tom Buchanan broke her nose with his open hand.

Tom went from breaking tackles in school to cheating on his wife and breaking his mistress’ nose as an adult.

My point being is this:

Most of the cool kids in high school, the ones that walked with swag, the ones that won the trophies, got the girls, went to all the parties, the ones that picked on the one’s that weren’t so cool or lucky, end up being the type of people whose high school years were the best years of their life.

Listen to what Russell Peters says about his high school experience. What side was he on? Where did he end up?

Please, don’t be the person that says, “High School was the best time of my life.” If you are, you’ll probably end up as a punchline.

(I sometimes think about the kids who bullied Greg Doucette and wonder what they’re doing with their lives at this moment.)


On Teaching.

Why is it that a parent can recognize when a child is bored, but a teacher can’t recognize when a student is bored?

The worst thing a teacher can do is answer a student’s question.

If a teacher is willing to take credit for helping shape a child’s life, they need to take credit for destroying a child’s life.

I think textbooks should be burned.

I think a school’s success can only be judged by the achievements of its most vulnerable students.

The worst thing a teacher can say is “I just don’t think school is for him.” Replace the word school with learning and you’ll see what I mean.

I think students should create their own curriculum.

I think the fortune inside fortune cookies make for great essay topics.

Teachers should shelve their binders.

I think where a student learns is just as important as what a child learns.

Desks should be demolished.

I think Principals, Vice-Principals, and Superintendents should still have to teach a class or two.

I think Teacher’s College needs to be a little more difficult.

If a teacher expects nothing from a student, they’ll get nothing from a student.

If we teach children how to behave in public, why can’t we teach them how to behave online?

I think the best classroom is outside the classroom.

I think every teacher should teach with their door open.

I think essay writing is over-rated.

I think a student should be able to choreograph a figure skating routine to demonstrate their understanding of Macbeth.

I think every student is a child wanting/needing/ deserving to be loved.

I think every teacher should take a drama class.

I think the education system is the least forward thinking system around.

If all we see throughout history is the same problems occurring over and over and over again, perhaps what we need to do is change the one thing that we all seemingly have in common -SCHOOL.

If we change the education system, we change the type of person we send out into the world; if we change the type of person we are sending out into the world, perhaps that person will help change the world.

If I didn’t think this were possible why am I still teaching?