Tag Archives: Newton

A Moment Of Silence

by Richard

I work in an elementary school. I deal with these little dudes and dudettes every single day.

The horror of Newton, Connecticut, is almost overwhelming.

I’ve tried to write this post for most of the weekend and came up with nothing. Every time I try to gather my thoughts, they simply disappear into the well of despair the parents of Newton must be feeling.

Those kids were no older than 10 years old, most not even into double digits. It’s just not right.

No matter what was wrong with the shooter’s brain, no matter what might have led to this. . . It’s just plain evil. Those kids did nothing. Those teachers and parents did nothing.

And now they have to suffer.

And all we can do is watch, and wonder and hope that it never happens again. And, when it does, the whole cycle starts over again with a different group of parents in mourning and a different group of parents watching and wondering and hoping.

There will always be mental illness. There will always be people who are just plain wrong. But we can change things if we make it harder for these people to get at the weapons that make it so much easier to kill others. But that is for later.

For now, all I can do is sit still and sorry and be quietly relieved it didn’t happen here.

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An Amazing Education

by Richard

As part of the changes around Casa de Dude, I’m headed back out into the workforce, earning more money as a solid contributor as opposed to the catch-as-catch-can of the freelancer world.

Oddly, considering that I love nothing more than hearing myself blather on and on, I decided that I wanted to get back into teaching, where I will have a classroom full of hostages, who can’t leave during the performance. Yeah, dudes, that’s pretty much the perfect job for me.

Although, I’m not — technically — a teacher. What I am is a Title I Tutor, which is a federally funded classroom helper who concentrates on assisting students who need extra help with reading and math. Basically I’m in the classroom to help the teacher teach the kids who need it most.

I’m working at an elementary school here in Charlotte, which is performing as an IB (international baccalaureate) magnet school. And, no joking here, I’m flat-out astounded at all the great stuff these kids get to do.

The teachers and administrators at my school are putting together a curriculum for these kids that is straight-up amazing. And that’s real.

For example, during science these last few weeks, the students in fifth grade have been studying inertia, Newton’s laws of motion, friction, force and stuff like that. They’ve been doing good at it. However, to make sure they really understand all the concepts and see them in action, these lucky students got some hands-on experience.

Using foam-rubber hoses cut in half, a marble, some masking tape and the school walls, these kids formed into groups and began designing roller coasters. Their aim was to make an apparatus that would have three loops or dips and still allow a marble to roll from one end to the other unaided.

Yeah, that’s pretty awesome.

Not only that, but they also were studying underwater archeology. So the teachers taped different boats along the floor of the school. In each boat, they marked out sections of a cargo hold. In each section, they put a picture of a different artifact. The students had to wander the school, finding the correct artifacts, draw them on their own paper, and then go back to the classroom to discuss what each artifact separately and together told them about the culture they were studying.

I mean it. This is some fantastic stuff.

I’m really quite proud to be associated with these fantastic teachers and administrators. And I’m not just saying that so I can get a good performance evaluation. These kids won’t know how lucky they were until they get older, so I think I’ll go ahead and just be appreciative for them for now.


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