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.


It’s a very ancient saying But a true and honest thought That if you become a teacher By your pupils you’ll be taught – From Rodgers & Hammerstein’s THE KING AND I I shared these lyrics with my very first students – first graders – 30 years ago. I knew back then that I was learning at least as much from them as they were learning from me. It’s still true. I love it when one of my students – mostly teenagers now – shares something magical. Cara Yi is the student representative on the Fremont Unified School District’s Board of Education. She’s also in my third period government and economics class. Cara is unassuming, but smart. Very smart. Ivy League, smarter-than-her-teacher smart. Cara