Category Archives: on learning

When everything is going just as it should –

 But Charlie, don’t forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. 
 What happened? 
He lived happily ever after.
                                  – Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

I had a hell of a teaching week last week.  Things were not going in my classroom how I wanted them.  Students were behaving outside of my classroom, and perhaps in it, in ways that disappointed me.  This coupled with the fact that we remain a district with an interim superintendent, a principal who leaves in two weeks, and no contract to speak of, well let’s just say there was some drinking done last weekend.

Also,  my students got the business from me a time or two in the last week.  At the end of one of my self-righteous lectures. . . A student raised her hand, politely, as she was sure I could still bite.
“Ms. B, have you ever thought of recording those rants, they sound a whole lot like poems”. Read the rest of this entry

Class with Ellen Bryant Voigt


Afternoon spent not
inside a forced aired classroom
instead on couches and chairs
tucked in a lounge
Ego checked at door

Then taken to town on my intonation
and lineation skills by Vermont’s
former Poet Laureate where it turns
out I didn’t die
when I was scolded with
your brain got a hold of you didn’t it
do it different try again
pause at the end of the line
that held no punctuation throw
out the recitation skills you were
taught certainly pause

Between stanzas

Considered the
questions that she sent over in her
long vowelled
Held my own even

When it was all over
told my own teacher
he owed me a beer for the
moment of gulping
down what I thought I  had known

As she signed my book
her sonnets collected
that I still purchase even if
embarrassed by the moment of
teacher being schooled she
sorry for shutting you down
and I respond that
it’s okay I managed to survive and she said
I knew you would

On second or is it third thought
perhaps I owe him one instead

Things to do instead of write your informational paper



Open document, check word count.
Check your email.
Check Facebook, while there, have conversations with your friend who you just saw at a party, your niece, and your student teacher
Oooh! Puppy.
No, no fostering puppies this week.
Pinterest. Oh pin pin pin. Crap, teacher’s blogs. . . you need to work on this paper.
Check school email to see if paper is due in the a.m. or p.m.
answer three emails.
Oh! Ten o’clock, The Newsroom is on.
Yah, you can write with this in the background.
Or blog, you can blog.


Check back to your paper between The Newsroom and True Blood.
True Blood, oh you’ve never watched that.  Vampires, they’re not annoying Twilight Vampires are they?
Ha, funny, a hate group of mixed race where every one hates vampires. Clever.
Paper.  Yah, that new paragraph sucks.
Erase whole new paragraph.

Decide your muse takes a break on Sundays. Set alarm for five. am.

Assignment One –


A homework assignment that asked me to do some thinking about myself as a writer? Yah, I’m going to post that on my blog.

A bit about the assignment – from the syllabus of English 712-
The purpose of this first project will be for you to reflect on your literacy practices: on yourself as a writer and reader and the literacy practices of formative groups and institutions (e.g., family, school, church).  The process of composing this three-page collection should develop your self-awareness. . .This project will resemble a collage.  Like an essay, it will have some overall unity of intention: the overall picture you want to convey about yourself as a literate individual shaped by certain social/cultural contexts. . . .Unlike an essay, the collection will include bits from various genres ordered as you wish to create an overall effect with some variation and texture.  . .

Tara, the writer.
An Ethnography in the Third Person

At age 9-
Crying. Report due on elevators,  She doesn’t know why she chose elevators, or was it Otis. Her mother picks up the pen, helps her finish.

At age 10-
Teacher enjoys Tara’s creative writing piece set on the bird sanctuary at her great uncle’s farm, and tells her so.  Tara beams.

At age 10-
Other children are told they are smarter. They get to write more and do more exploration on their own in a program called SOAR. This will bother Tara for years. Read the rest of this entry

All the things I am in love with right now.


Don’t everyone freak-out at once. But, I am going to be super cheery right now.

No. No.  You haven’t clicked on the wrong blog. And don’t worry, it’s okay I’m sure I’ll be mad at the world, or the media, or the political sphere – anytime now —

But for this minute . . . Things I’m loving .  . .

Afternoons with Keegan. Keegan and I have barely had anytime together on our own. Read the rest of this entry



Class starts Monday, and I’m excited. I mean not, go out and buy a new backpack and a first day of school outfit excited, but certainly excited enough to spend Friday night doing my homework excited. And sure, I might pick up a new notebook too.  I haven’t taken a class in four years, and while I’m thinking about the next part of my education, I’m glad to get my feet wet again with a little three-week course. I wonder sometimes, if given all the resources in the world and all the time to do what I would wish, if I wouldn’t just spend the rest of my days being a student. Read the rest of this entry