Rarified Places: Kalmykia

The cars in the industrial grease and creosote smelling stations had names on their sides of strange places.  One such place was “Dagestan”.  My silly mind went to Doggystan. This Russian train is clearly marked to go to Moscow, which was the hub for nearly all this 11-time-zone spanning country. Amidst all the metal, people,…

Worlds apart

it is good to hear the tale of someone who has met success by being inspired and following through.  -David Adamshick The fluorescent lights always buzzed. Sometimes, after being there for a long time, I wore them like a heavy coat I couldn’t wait to take off at home. The plastic seat with the writing…

Spot on.

One of the great failings of the American education system, in our view, is that young people can graduate from university without any understanding of poverty at home or abroad.  Study-abroad programs tend to consist of herds of students visiting Oxford or Florence or Paris.  We believe that universities should make it a requirement that…

Some thoughts on being a language teacher: linguistic imperialism

I have been since I decided what I wanted to do, a language teacher.  I didn’t end up here by mistake. The first place I went was Russia with Peace Corps.  Peace Corps had in high (sarcastic) comedy brought all these “teachers” to one of the most educated countries on the planet to teach the…

Merit pay for teachers

We have a cool show here in Portland called Think Out Loud. They pick a subject and then have a panel of knowledgeable folks on the radio and let people call in with their thoughts, opinions etc. You can even post if you would like to join the conversation. edit: in my haste I didn’t…

O Happy Day

The last day. I am 23 weeks pregnant and I have seldom been more distracted. All I was able to think about those last several days was: When can I eat again? What will I eat? What do I want to eat? How long will I get to eat? Absentmindedness abounds. Am forgetting everything except…

Minnie Jean & how to get your kids to act right.

Such everyone called her.  We had the honor of hosting Minnie Jean Brown Trickey at our middle school last week.  For the uninitiated (like myself) Minnie Jean Brown Trickey was one of the Little Rock 9 from Central High when the U.S. desegregated schools.  Her story is pretty amazing so it was cool to have…

Cold

The thought occurred to me this week “What if the temp lingers between 34 and 59 degrees all summer?” like it has this spring.  Actually, 59 is balmy. I think I am listening to NPR too much and all their sounding of the environmental crisis alarm bells.