# Category Archives: Education

## Thirty Million Words

When do we start learning?  Recent research suggests it’s as soon as we’re born.  Which also suggests another advantage affluent families have over poor families — their children are exposed to more learning opportunities as preschoolers, thus giving them a head start when they get to school.   One study estimated that this translates to

## Some Thoughts on Our Education System.

I’ve previously mentioned I’ve been a high school  aide for a new Middle Eastern student for two days this week.  I tried to help him as much as I could, including taking notes for him in addition to pushing his wheelchair.  One thing I noticed was he was frequently asking me “Is this right?  Is

## Which is Better: Lord of the Flies or The Hunger Games?

Having been a substitute teacher for nine-plus years now, I’m reasonably familiar with the curriculum in many subjects, especially English.  Two of the books studied every year are To Kill a Mockingbird (as close as anyone has come to The Great American Novel) and Lord of the Flies.  Yesterday I learned there has been a

## From the Teaching Front Lines

I haven’t been substitute teaching as much this year, usually a day or two a week, but I still enjoy it.  Of course, some days are more rewarding than others. Today, for example, I was working with special-needs students.  These jobs are always interesting.  I can remember when I was studying to be a teacher and

## Another School Year Starts

Thus starts another year of substitute teaching.  This should be my ninth if I can still count.  Last year I decided to slow down and I only taught in one district.  I’m doing the same this year.  The weather is too nice and there’s a lot of yardwork to catch up on.  And yet… I’ve

## A Quick Math Trick

School is about to start, so — Here is a math trick I just learned about.  If you added up all the numbers from zero to 100, what would be their sum? Sounds daunting, doesn’t it?  Well, there’s an easy way to do this. Imagine a column of numbers from 0 to 100.  How many

## How to Tell if it’s a Real Fire Drill

A final thought on this school year  — The last week of actual school (the week before finals) we had a fire drill and a tornado drill.  You may wonder what’s the point (as I did) but there are requirements to be met and apparently two more squares needed to be filled. I was discussing

## What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

Since I’ve been working as a substitute teacher, and for years was taking almost any job that came along, I’ve caught myself asking that question regularly.  Like the time I had an afternoon job teaching high school Health.  I was there a bit early, at the end of the period before I was to take

## Some Thoughts on the End of the School Year

I’ve been substitute teaching for the same teacher for six of the past seven weeks.  This is my last week — the last school week before finals.  The seniors had their last day today.  Overall they’ve been great kids and teachers do form an emotional attachment with their students.  But you still have a job

## “Just Like Snowflakes” — A Commentary on Race

I didn’t write this, but I wish I had. I used to write for a website called Helium, where aspiring writers could post pieces and rate each other’s work.  Helium has since closed down as a writing site and someone else owns the address, but this was so good an essay that I saved it.