Tag: education

A former student returns to talk about_______.


As I’m packing up my bag to go home for the day, a former student is suddenly framed in my classroom door. “Mr. Armstrong!” We smile, hug, sit down, and a few minutes into the visit the former student clears their throat and says, “Can I ask you something?” “Sure.” “Do you think about ______.” […]

Can poetry save lives?


Can poetry save lives? I’ve been entertaining the question: Can poetry save lives? Here’s why: At the start of the school year my 12th grade students made it clear they knew very little poetry. They knew of Edgar Allan Poe, Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. Yet when I pressed their poetry knowledge they stared at […]

Be a donkey: Meeting Tim O’Brien… again


Be a donkey: Meeting Tim O’Brien…again If you have been reading for a while you know my affinity for novelist Tim O’Brien. His masterwork, The Things They Carried, taught me more about the power of storytelling, the profoundness of language, the danger of absolute truth than any other work. For 14 years I have taught […]

Goodbye Room A-205


Goodbye Room A-205 For the past 13 years Room A-205 has been my classroom. However, due to some logistical changes coming next school year, I accepted to move to a new classroom. I’m just down the hall but as my long-time hallway neighbor joked, “it’s like being a thousand miles away.” A-205 was the first […]

My hardest day as a teacher came this week


My hardest day as a teacher came this week On Monday night a current student of mine passed away. It wasn’t the student I told you about last week. In first period on Tuesday morning I informed my class of 12th graders that one of their classmates was dead. By their reactions, it was clear […]

We are all connected


~This is a new post~ The murder of Samantha Josephson has consumed me since I heard on the morning of Saturday, March 30th. Samantha graduated from the high school which I’ve taught for 12 years. I didn’t teach Samantha but I taught her sister and when Samantha was a 12th grader we shared a few […]

Dealing with doubt


This week I taught John Patrick Shanley’s 2008 play “Doubt”. If you’re not familiar, Netflix is currently streaming the film adaptation staring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Meryl Streep. It’s a fast, suspenseful masterpiece that will leave you, well–doubting. No surprise, with all the Doubt in my life this week–I found it difficult to […]

Health Update#3: I’m still doing okay.


Health Update #3 In every situation, life is asking us a question, and our actions are the answer. Our job is simply to answer well. ~ Ryan Holiday People have been asking how I’m feeling lately. So here we go: I’m doing okay. I get it, “I’m doing okay” is the response I gave you […]

Why Men Don’t Talk A technique to get men to do something amazing


Society has conditioned men to dismiss any and all vulnerabilities. Since men identify vulnerability as a weakness, they often don’t possess the emotional strength to talk about their weaknesses. Male behavior that follows this script appeases societal expectations but how does this silence affect the individual male? The male who returns home from war. The […]

How to Save a Life


Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.” ― James Joyce, The Dead Five years ago I was farting my way through grad school. The plan was to graduate with a Master’s degree in educational administration and become a principal. I didn’t really want […]