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.

Seeing the glass as a half-percent full

I hope you get this, but I'm worried you won't. On first utterance, I know it sounds ludicrous. There's a sliver of a silver lining in both the Vietnam War and the Cambodian genocide. Yes, the Vietnam War darkened American history. Yes, the Cambodian genocide was as horrific a period in world history as any other. Still… The ripple effect of events can be beyond bizarre. Who would have thought that because America got overly involved in Vietnam, I would meet Jackie Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American shooting guard on the girls' basketball team I coached 14 years ago. And because of Pol Pot's practices, among the most ruthless ever, I met Janet Koy, a Cambodian-American point guard on that same te