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Category Archives: Education

Dedicated ESL Teacher Retires

(I wrote the following announcement about the retirement of my friend and former colleague Gary Christiansen and, without byline, it was published in the Bakersfield Californian on May 24, 2019.) Long ago friends and colleagues of Gary Christiansen began to wonder how he could teach a four-hour English as a Second Language class five mornings […]

Also posted in Bakersfield, English, George Thomas Clark

Guns in Classrooms

I arrive late to a packed board meeting of the Arid School District in your community and have to join others pressed against the wall and already listening to speakers address the five popularly-elected trustees of the school board who sit behind a long desk on the dais. “Guns are inherently offensive, not defensive,” says […]

Also posted in Bakersfield, Crime, Guns, Murder

Costa Rican Tea

Whitney, let us acknowledge, was a square in high school. He did not drink, smoke, date, or compete in athletics, preferring to do homework and immerse himself in the Spanish and chess clubs. In his college dormitory, far from home, he continued to try to live as a scholar but in this primitive environment could […]

Also posted in Alcohol, College, Costa Rica, Dating

Anthony Trollope Counters

I seek not your sympathy but cherish your attention as I here attempt to convey some of the events of my nightmare years as a student at Harrow in the early eighteen thirties. I entered school as a wretched farmer’s boy required to sit among the sons of peers, and their sophistication I at once […]

Also posted in Anthony Trollope, Bullies, England, Wrestling

Bakersfield Number One

Bring out the beer, boys, Bakersfield’s number one again. You see the report? We got the highest rate of auto theft in the United States. My buggy was ripped off last month. I love it. We also got the dirtiest air in the country. And as more of our teenage girls get knocked up we […]

Also posted in Bakersfield, Crime, Environment

The In Crowd

I’m a leader and other girls do what I say and fifteen are helping me deal with Rebecca. I’m bigger and can easily beat her up by myself but that’s not the point. I want everyone to hate her. She used to see a guy who dropped her for me. That’s not enough either. The […]

Also posted in Bullies, Bullying, Families, Mental Health, Suicide

Teacher Patrimony

I teach Spanish in Mexico City, math in Morelos, history in Guadalajara. Father passed his job to me as Grandfather had to him. We’re educators. We don’t need government bureaucrats to hire and evaluate us with standardized tests. We’re evaluating them, wearing masks and waving sticks and lying in streets, snarling traffic and leaving kids […]

Also posted in Mexico, Mexico City, Unions

Emergency Teacher

Science teacher loved job but hated having to go in middle of class. Back in two minutes, he said, holding up fingers. He walked into bathroom he’d used twenty years and saw father push son away from urinal. Don’t do that, said teacher, and stepped to another urinal from which father pushed him, so he […]

Also posted in Dreams, Short Pieces - GTC

Professor Party

He taught English or something at Berkeley and students called him Professor, admired clipped beard, and cheered when he entered parties. Students eventually said they didn’t know when professor asked, and he stopped anyway because they hindered drinking, and teaching too proved inconvenient before he lugged ragged beard into streets of Bakersfield.

Also posted in Alcohol, Bakersfield, Drugs, Parties, Short Pieces - GTC

Elementary Fly

In fifth grade there was boy with bad reputation. On hot spring afternoon fly landed on lip, and instantly he bit and killed fly, which tumbled onto chin. Asinine fool, shouted teacher, get into bathroom and clean yourself up. Neither teacher nor students complimented boy for having fast reflexes. How many could’ve bitten fly?

Also posted in Insects, Mental Health, Short Pieces - GTC

Baby Frogs

At school the lawn banks toward a shady northern wall by a sprinkler oozing puddles where every spring male frogs mount female backs and fertilize eggs as they’re laid in water. We never notice the tadpoles that first emerge but are delighted by the sudden appearance of hundreds of baby frogs. Initially they’re fingertip-size and […]

Also posted in Frogs, George Thomas Clark, Reptiles

Big Sneeze

After hosting amorous boyfriend Sunday night and pounding treadmill half hour early Monday morning, popular high school math teacher Martha H drove to school, parked car, and walked toward class, confident she’d have another great week. She sneezed after shutting car door, and nose and sinuses had tickly, cleaned out feeling that became more pleasurable […]

Also posted in Google, Health, Internet, Mental Health, Short Pieces - GTC, Sneezing, Suicide

Bully Solution

Most days in class few guys call me four-eyes or squirrel and say I’ll be in trouble at recess. Sometimes I try to stay inside but teachers make me go out and play. I’m not smallest kid in schoolyard but one of them and maybe most clumsy. When you’re that way everyone knows. Bigmouths get […]

Also posted in Bullying, Mental Health, Short Pieces - GTC

Administrative Offices

petty administrators provoked faculty prompting latter to bribe custodian for key to weekend of work on monday administrative offices everywhere padded and locked from outside

Also posted in Bureaucracies, Poetry - GTC

Church Service – Part 2

This story is now in the collection “Tales of Romance”

Also posted in Dating, Immigration, Marriage, Poetry - GTC, Religion

Rare Books

last week there were fifty books teacher said now there are forty five

Also posted in Books, Poetry - GTC, Theft

Revelations

This story is now in the collection “Tales of Romance”

Also posted in Health, Kidneys, Short Pieces - GTC, Testicles

The NCAA Confesses

What’s in that syringe? Untie me. You’ll go to jail. This won’t work. I’m not talking. I hope I won’t. I know I shouldn’t say as a kid I was a white wimp and still am and therefore perfect to work for the NCAA. I loathe my athletic superiors and all the media and fan […]

Also posted in Basketball, Football, NCAA, Racism, Reggie Bush, Walter Byers

Death of a Teacher

Immersed in my own trivial but heartfelt concerns, the principal of which was that my six-week summer vacation had, as ever, lasted at least a fortnight too long and, despite a couple of stimulating vacations, left me feeling isolated and resentful and anxious to return to the camaraderie and energy of a large adult school. […]

Also posted in George Thomas Clark, Health, Insurance

Death on the High School Website

Last fall, just before deadline, I bought a ticket to the forty-year reunion of my high school class in Sacramento. I wanted to see about ninety percent of the people on the party list but had hesitated, fearing that a few of the rest might say something insulting and there’d be unpleasantness so a few […]

Also posted in Alcohol, Cancer, Cars & Driving, Energy, George Thomas Clark

Golf Course Braces for Wild High School Reunion

Sacramento, CA – Officials at scenic Ancil Hoffman Golf Course, which stretches along the American River east of town, issued an emergency decree this morning after police informed them that a (publicly-unnamed) suburban high school, notorious for its rowdy alumni, plans next week to attack the links with ten foursomes celebrating forty years of parole […]

Also posted in Alcohol, American River, Golf, Sacramento, Tiger Woods