Tag: teaching

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 […]

My wife (and Bill Belichick) taught me something this week


My wife (and Bill Belichick) taught me something this week This school year has been a change for both Cindy and our children. The children started at a new school and, after 17 years at one school, Cindy moved on and accepted a teaching position at a new school. The children have transitioned nicely. They’re […]

Perspective: To grow in soul


Perspective: To grow in soul The speaker of Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Man He Killed” is a soldier who recalls killing an enemy soldier and realizes had they met under different circumstances they would probably share a drink and a story or two. The speaker hesitates, repeats himself, talks in circles as he tries to […]

Happy Diagnosis-versary! Why you should celebrate your worse day


Happy Diagnosis-versary! Why you should celebrate your worst day An MRI on September 4, 2013 revealed my brain damage. If you have been reading write on fight on for awhile you know all about my broken brain and I don’t want to bore you. And if you’re visit me for the first time–what took you […]

Are we having fun yet?


Are we having fun yet? All summer long I’ve been helping high school 12th graders write their college applications essays. When we first meet, most students see writing as a chore. Writing, like cleaning their room, is something an adult made them do. They assume writing is simply a matter of slogging through 5 paragraph […]

What is a pebble jar and why you should make one


What is a pebble jar and why you should make one Day 20 of the 21 Day Challenge required me to make a pebble jar. What’s a pebble jar? Literally–it’s a jar filled with pebbles. Or in my case, a jar filled with poker chips. Figuratively–each pebble, or poker chip, represents a measure of time. […]

I’m excited to announce…


I’m proud to announce… I’m writing a book. The validation I’ve been desperately seeking for years came twice last week. First, in a heartfelt message, a reader explained how my writing resonates with them and their struggles and that they would be first in line to buy my book… whenever I wrote it. That turned […]

Thank you for connecting with me and what we did for my wife on her 40th birthday


Thank you for connecting with me and what we did for my wife on her 40th birthday The last four posts have been hard to write. Yet writing about the death of one of my students has been cathartic. It has helped me to embrace loss, gain perspective, ask big questions, and appreciate the things […]

Let the healing begin


Let the healing begin When tragedy strikes–when is the right time to move forward? When is it okay to laugh and smile again? For the past 9 years, in the days leading up to then senior prom, I have been performing  “Armstrong’s Awesome Prom Power Point” to my students. It’s a fun presentation mixed with […]

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 […]