23 January 2007

Testing and the whiners

It seems to me that just about every student becomes “emo” when they have to take a test. « Oh French is so hard. You don’t understand. I fail my tests to feel alive. » This never ending litany of complaints needs only its own soundtrack. Or rather, it becomes, I suppose, its own soundtrack at the end of each unit in our textbook. Thank goodness for the few who study and practice and pay attention. They sing a different song: one of success.

11 January 2007


One of the greatest frustrations a teacher may find in his career is caring about a student. So much like parenting, teaching has pitfalls, too. When you are friendly, students can misinterpret your intentions. Let me clarify; students feel that as your friend, you'll let them do as they please. But they need to remember, I am the teacher, not the friend. When I remind them, call them to task, they may shut down, and it can take time for them to realize that by doing my job as the teacher, I am a better friend than they realize. Boundaries and limits, structure and discipline, caring and sensitivity--it's all very much like my role as a father.

05 January 2007


in the coffee shop
hearing the music bee-bop
I stop
after work
the barista at the counter
takes my order
a soy lattè
and a cookie
sugar that I need
in order to succeed
at resting
my nerves
caffeine has the reverse
affecting peace in my
spinning head
my body dead
not wired

mired in worry
over job children boyfriend
others enter the café
at the end of the day
children play
and dance about
and a man in boots
caked in mud
does homework from a thick
look at the rain
on the street
alternately pausing and
coming down in sheets
women with thin lips
wide hips get no-whips
a dude with a broken nose
and Cope in his pocket
poses tough at the
register to order his
with a double shot
almost no one stays
to meditate
or contemplate the by-gone day
men in tight pants
with soft bellies
barely notice the time
as they drop a dime
in the tip jar
no one socializes
except two lesbians on
the terrace
beneath the awning
my moleskine rips
more coffee drips
the Mont Blanc glides
slides across smooth paper
recording words
not heard
only written
peacefully after little
only casual observation
and minor invention
little retention
of rhyme or meter
until the venti cup