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.

The most important four words anyone can ever say (three-minute read)

This is Reshma Gajjar. If you saw Academy Award winning film, La La Land, you'll recognize her. She was the first to appear on screen in the opening number, "Another Day of Sun." When she was in 8th grade, Reshma was my daughters' babysitter. I asked her partly because I thought she'd be a solid role model, but mostly because I knew she'd be fun. When we returned home after one evening out, Kyrra told me that after they had been playing she asked Resh if they should clean up. "Clean?" Reshma answered, "What's clean?" In high school, Reshma got good grades and planned on four years of college like "everyone else at (her) school." She was on that hazy college/career path at U.C. Santa Cruz whe