What Should We Talk About?

My favorite part of teaching was sharing evocative passages, affecting scenes, meaningful lyrics and innovative ideas with my students. We’d read, watch and listen to them, then think, talk and write about them.


It kept me from the curriculum. But then I’d think, Why isn’t this the curriculum? This is what kids need to learn! For example, after watching the scene where Tom Hanks scolds Geena Davis in A League of Their Own,


“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!”


I’d share it with students and explain why I showed it to them. And now I’m sharing passages, scenes, lyrics and ideas with you with the goal of getting a thought-provoking, life-enhancing conversations started.

Hey Bill Gates, Shut Up!

I want to punch Bill Gates in the face! Well, not really. He's not a bad man, and I wouldn't be much of a role model if acted on every angry impulse. Not that I have to worry. The odds of a guy like Gates slipping into the punching range of a guy like me are virtually zero. Still, if I ever got the chance to talk to Gates, I'd tell him to stop being such an ultracrepidarian. Ultracrepidarian: noting or pertaining to a person who criticizes, judges, or gives adviceoutside the area of his or her expertise. Gates, obviously, is brilliant has done a ton of good for the world. I respect and admire him. But he's a classic example of what we do in this country way too much. When someone achieves gr