Photo by sebastien cordat on Unsplash

Ah, the hot dog. Such a nebulous food item. On one hand, it’s cheap and, with the appropriate condiments, quite tasty. (Or maybe you like yours with nothing on it…who am I to judge?)

And it’s a versatile “meat” — grill it, boil it, microwave it, fry pan it — the hot dog appeases any type of cooking acumen.

But there’s always that one, lingering question. What’s in a hot dog?

Fear not, this isn’t about hot dog composition. There’s plenty of that available for your perusal. …

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What an inspiring image. Children being children — exploring the wonders of the world with youthful exuberance worthy of —

— well, except, that’s not accurate.

No — instead, one of my students told me last week that the way I look is “going to make getting married very difficult” for me and that he would one day own a Ferrari but I “would never do the same, obviously.”

Joke’s on him — I prefer the Lamborghini.

But damn, kid. When did it become a child’s prerogative to invoke some sort of existential crisis within his teacher? …

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March 12, 2019.

That’s when the glass shattered. But I didn’t fall.

I plummeted.

Teaching is a glass house. Little by little, cracks form. Some are superficial, like when the Willis Tower occasionally decides to test the strength of its tourists’ hearts. Faux fractures — nothing else. Others though, are far from fabricated. They start out like any fissure — thin and shallow — but over time they deepen and, eventually, the glass breaks.

The fragility of teaching comes from the weight of its demands. Yes, teaching is a job, and jobs are hard. But as a teacher, you indirectly…

Image courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures’s “Jojo Rabbit”.

Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

I first saw Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit over a month ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since. For those unfamiliar, Jojo Rabbit is a satire set in Germany circa the final act of WWII. We follow Jojo (Roman Griffin Davis), an unapologetic ten-year-old who takes pride in being part of the Hitler Youth. So much so, in fact, that his subconscious often manifests itself as the villainous dictator himself (played by Waititi). …

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When there’s something wrong with my car, I take it to an auto repair shop. Nine hours later (a product of having to navigate through Los Angeles), I arrive. The mechanic, with all his automotive wisdom, pinpoints the problem in flawless fashion. He fixes the problem for me. I pay him for his work. We both continue living our lives.

He fixes the problem for me.

I know nothing about cars, nor do I care to know. It infuriates my handyman father, who can fix just about anything, but what can I say? …

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Prior to becoming a high school English teacher, I used to think grading would be fun.


Cut to five years later of doing said grading every day — not the dream I imagined (though why did 2014 me think this would be fun to begin with?).

Here are some cold hard facts about grading (and, particularly, grading for a subject where writing reigns supreme):

Rubrics suck

Well, make them not suck. Yeah okay…tried that. Some rubrics are “okay.” The Six Traits of Writing paradigm, to name an example.

But most rubrics — by nature — breed confinement. …

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Oh dear, dear educator — if you’re reading this, then you’ve landed in the right spot. We want your stories of survival in the perilous world of teaching. Of educating. Of Kool-Aid avoidance.

The goal at Edumacation is simple — share real stories from real educators. Nightmares and all. Whether you’re a current warrior or recovering teach-aholic, your stories matter, and you, better than anyone else…


You’ve dug your feet in the trenches, seen the struggle up close. Why not share with the rest of the world?

This publication isn’t for everyone. …

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“You see this future for us — marriage, kids, but I…

…I don’t.”

And there it was. Four years of commitment, a bank vault full of memories, a shared life planned more than a few times. Gone. Severed via one hesitant sentence.

Of course, more would be said. To her credit, she at least acted like that first sentence was hard to say. The beats between the “I”s, her shaky cadence. But once that was out, everything else flowed just fine.

“I don’t see a future,” was the wrench fighting its way across the top of the fire hydrant. …

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Any full-time freelancer knows the drill: If you want to keep the lights on, multiple income streams are your best friends.

The problem for me?

I get bored.

It’s not that I don’t like what I’m doing — I do. I’m not at a full-time income from writing yet, but I’m hanging off the precipice just below the top of the mountain and using all my strength (granted, there’s “room for improvement” in my biceps) to pull myself up.

With multiple income streams comes multiple projects. And with multiple projects comes the need to finish these projects and finish them…

Photo by Srikanta H. U on Unsplash

Dear Santa,

God may be against me, but hopefully you aren’t. I’ve been a GREAT teacher this year.

Every time Patrick Hanson has called me an idiot, I’ve smiled and said “You’re entitled to your First Amendment rights, Patrick.” My drunk grading has decreased considerably. In fact, yesterday I graded 40% of first period’s essays without pouring a single glass of wine! Yes, I eventually submitted and spilled wine all over Cindy Crawford’s paper, but at least I was honest about it. The next day, I looked her in the eyes and said “Cindy, your essay made me drink, and…

Joe Wolff

Author. Former educator. Free short story collection giver:

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