Category: Publius

A True Story

By | Prose, Publius

I’m writing a syllabus for an English course I’ll never teach. That and I’ve got to teach algebra. I’ve been given eleven points to revise on a syllabus, a syllabus I’ve been using now for six months. Otherwise, the class will not be approved for instruction. I’ve got to bring my syllabus up to the …

Charlie The Building Checker

By | Prose, Publius

The governor is making a surprise visit tomorrow.   We just found out at 2 PM. In anticipation of this surprise, the students are called down to the auditorium, and told to be nice, cheery, surprised of course and, above all else, quiet, lest they spend the remainder of their formative years in a re-education camp. …

The Guv

By | Prose, Publius

The governor came and went in a half hour or so.   He visited one classroom.   Never even got to the second or third floor.   It turns out he just wanted a backdrop for a press conference on why he’s The Education Governor.   Walked into a classroom, leaned over a student, pointed to something, and, a …

And Trouble Deaf Heaven with my Bootless Cries

By | Prose, Publius

When I got back to school, everyone congratulated me on my standardized test scores. I had never taught Advanced Placement before – I’d taught college, college credit courses, but never A. P. per se. So, when most of my kids scored low, I was pretty much “oh well, fuck all”. It turns out that more …

Lesson Plan: From An Inner City High School

By | Prose, Publius

There are a lot of reasons to quit this job. Kate did. I don’t blame her. But of all the reasons to quit this job, the three best are depression, humiliation and rage. A freshman turns in the homework. I look at his t-shirt, and see a disarming photo of a nice looking young man. …

Roll Call

By | Prose, Publius

This is not the poorest school I’ve ever taught in. Nor the most disorganized. Nor my first all Black school — I taught in the West Indies. But it is poor, disorganized, and located in my hometown. By far, these are not the worst discipline problems I’ve encountered. (I taught in a school for the …

Publius’s 100 Books — For My Students

By | Book Review, Prose, Publius

A word about my prejudices.   I’m a teacher of history and English; I know little about math and science; therefore, my list is geared toward the humanities.     Many works are chosen as representative of an entire class of literature.   Only one work is given for each author.   For the sake of brevity, these works are entirely …

I Got a Call from the Office

By | Prose, Publius

     I got a call from the school’s front office.   I haven’t fed the box. Actually, to be exact, I haven’t fed the box the right pieces of paper.   How did I know anyone would read the box? The box is the storage bin for our lesson plans.   These lesson plans take hours to create.   …