Monthly Archives: February 2011

Just because I like you…

One of the Pasty-White Lumberjack’s favorite lines to use while dealing with misbehavior: “Just because I like you, does that mean I should let you get away with it?” Even if you are a bit ticked with the student(s) it won’t sound like it.

When it gets to consequence time…this line works great.

Love & Logic has kept the Pasty-White Lumberjack from “blowing a gasket” for over a decade.

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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in Teaching Tips


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Interview Help-What to Avoid

If there’s one thing the Pasty-White Lumberjack (PWL) knows, it’s what NOT to say during an interview. A set of commonly-asked interview questions is listed below, along with the kind of responses you’ll definitely want to avoid. (Unless you’re related to someone important.)

Why did you decide to become a teacher? Process of elimination. I’ve tried other things and didn’t care for them, and teaching has always looked pretty easy.

What is your educational philosophy? I look at education the same way I look at a bait pile. I’m going to put the stuff out there, and whoever wants to partake, bring it on.

It is the first day of class, you are writing something on the board and a paper wad hits you in the back, what would you do? Later the same day, if all the students drop their pencils, what do you do? I’d find out who did it by saying, “No one is leaving this room until somebody fesses up.” If all the kids did something like dropping a pencil, I’d hold them all in for recess, give them all extra work, maybe even make them write, “I will not drop pencils in class.” a thousand times.

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? I’ll be honest…just about everything I do is good stuff, no real weaknesses here, unless you consider the fact that my sweet skills tend to rub people the wrong way, which I would consider to be a weakness for them.

If a student said she thought you were the worst teacher she ever had, what would you say? Good.

How can you tell that a person is a good listener? I’m sorry…what did you say?

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Posted by on February 17, 2011 in Teaching Tips


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Improving Persona

If you haven’t taken your old (or maybe not so old) college textbooks and put them in a highly visible place in your classroom yet, then get on it! Nothing says I’m well read like a distinguised-looking set of books.

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Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Teaching Tips


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“I’m blaming it on Hollywood. The reason I went into teaching, that is. They made it look so easy.”

As a naïve undergraduate, Ted Carter has big dreams. Though TV did nothing to prepare him for his role as an educator, it certainly inspired him. Fresh out of college, Ted is ready to impact eager-to-learn minds, just like he witnessed on some of his favorite shows, though preferably someplace other than the tiny community in which he grew up. As summer fades, and September inches closer, he reluctantly accepts the only job he’s offered: a sixth grade teaching position in his hometown of Coleman, a small, quiet village tucked away in the hills of northern Michigan. A wild ride of unexpected trials and awkward moments as a raw first-year teacher ensues.

Besides the rigors of being a first-year teacher, the challenge of living at home with his parents only adds to his feelings of isolation and loneliness. Consumed by doubt and frustration, he decides his only option is to quit. It’s not until he unexpectedly meets a former high school teacher, Mr. Fritz, that he realizes he’s not alone in his struggles of uncertainty and disillusionment, and that there is hope in overcoming these obstacles. Will a chance encounter with a favorite former teacher be enough to keep him in the classroom?

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Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Writing


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Stop Running!!!

It’s that time of year when the slightest infraction can cause even the calmest, coolest of teachers to spazz out just a bit.  As the doldrums of winter slowly crawl towards spring break, it’s nice to have someone like the Pasty-White Lumberjack to pass along bits of wisdom.  For those teaching elementary, there’s no shortage of kids running through the hallways.  Why?  Are they in a hurry to get back to class so they can crack open their math book and tear through a few pages of story problems?  I doubt it.  The next time you see the next Jesse Owens running through the hallway, try this:  First, step into the path of the oncoming sprinter. (If he doesn’t slow down, turn sideways-that way it won’t hurt so much when he crashes into you.) Reach out your hand and say something like, “Hey, I don’t believe we’ve met.  You are….?”  After the introductions are over proceed to ask as many questions as you can in a ten to fifteen second window while shaking his hand the entire time. End with the following: “Where do you think you’d be right now if I hadn’t stopped to ask you all these questions?”  (Always smile-even if you don’t feel like it-acting annoyed or irritated will surely cause things to backfire.)

This is definitely better (and more fun) than screaming, “Slow down!!!”

“I’d rather they think I’m crazy than think I’m mean.” Pasty-White Lumberjack

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Posted by on February 12, 2011 in Teaching Tips


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