on teaching

Fires in the Bathroom

While BJ was organizing his books, he handed me a copy of Fires in the Bathroom by Kathleen Cushman. The first line in the preface read like this:

It’s a safe bet that in random high schools all over the United States, some kid has just set the bathroom wastebasket on fire. And deep down, all of us know why.

I was hooked. Someone is always setting the trash on fire down the hall! This happened at other schools too?!I’m only through the first two chapters, but I am certain this will be an invaluable resource for teaching. During my graduate studies, we were assigned more than enough books about pedagogy and what-have-you, but this gathers advice and insight from students themselves who tackle sensitive topics with honesty and directness that is hard to get from “experts.” In a way it makes me want to travel back to the first day of school and do some things a little differently.

I didn’t realize how consuming a teacher’s job can be until I became one. Students, lessons, and endless lists of tasks linger in my mind well past the end of the school day. Lucky for me, BJ has always been understanding about all the work I have to do during the weekends and all the things we have to pass over. Heck, he even pitches in and helps me with the workload. And I’ve got to be thankful for my cohorts (hehe, do you guys remember hearing that word all the time?) and teacher friends like Andrew (whose calisthenic detentions we’ll cover in their own post) who continue to challenge me to reflect upon my own teaching practices and who allow me to vent about extremely short class times, overcrowded classrooms, and all the crazy things that go on in a school.

Mmkay, That’s all. If you are an educator, I highly recommend picking up this book if you haven’t already. I’m off to the rodeo to enjoy the last few hours of break before I start grading again.

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