Why Kids Should Be Exposed to Knowledge They Won’t Need in “The Real World”

Photo by Oussama Zaidi on Unsplash

When I was in first or second grade, my teacher gave my peers and me straight pins and sheets of colored paper covered in dots. We knelt on the floor, poised our pins above each dot, and stabbed, intensely motivated by the knowledge that, when we were done, our papers would be taped to the window. Light would stream through the holes we’d made. We would see patterns. Our parents would be proud. I envied the kids who made it through two or three pin pictures while I toiled away at one. My self-esteem probably took a hit. And for…


My bathroom mirror reflects a palimpsest of scars and eyes etched over ancestral legends etched over Mormonism and the Intermountain West.

A picture of me and my dog taken by my husband

Acne Scars

The scars are in-spite of, not because of, my family’s grim brushes with poverty. My mother conscientiously shuttled me to dermatologists who peered at my face and shoulders, brushing my skin with dispassionate fingertips. They prescribed endless lists of creams, which I applied, and pills, which I swallowed. I used their recommended soaps and followed their recommended regimens. Still, cystic acne blossomed thickly on my cheeks and jawline, leaving deep pockmarks. I sensed adults’ pity and peers’ morbid fascination. I felt old women’s collective appraisal: She might have been pretty if it weren’t for those pimples.

In my late teens…


Four Questions to Ask Yourself Before Tying the Knot

Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

In “Marry Him! The Case for settling for Mr. Good Enough” Lori Gottlieb claims that women are hardwired to want marriage and offspring more than anything else.

“Of course, we’d be loath to admit it in this day and age, but ask any soul-baring 40-year-old single heterosexual woman what she most longs for in life, and she probably won’t tell you it’s a better career or a smaller waistline or a bigger apartment. Most likely, she’ll say that what she really wants is a husband (and, by extension, a child).”

Gottlieb encourages women to “settle” — sooner rather than later…


Three pitfalls to avoid when participating in social media politics

An elephant and donkey sitting back to back, staring angrily at electronic devices
An elephant and donkey sitting back to back, staring angrily at electronic devices
Illustration by the author

In 2015 — the year Trump said of immigrants, “They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people” — I stopped a student in the hallway of the racially diverse junior high school where I worked. “Hey, don’t flip people off,” I said. The offender hung his head and mumbled a half-intelligible justification: “He called me a [mumble, mumble].”

“He called you what?”

“He called me a republican.” I could tell the word tasted bad in his mouth. …


FIRSTHAND OBSERVATIONS

Six realities that often surprise new educators

Planning to raise children or transition to a more lucrative career, some new teachers enter the classroom eager to leave it; however, plenty of freshly minted graduates bank on teaching long-term but walk away from education after just a year or two simply because their expectations didn’t predict the realities of teacher life.

For those who wonder if they should become teachers, I’ve outlined six aspects of education that tend to surprise and overwhelm newbies.

1. Personality makes or breaks a teacher

Kathryn Andersen Spratt

Kathryn spends her days teaching teenagers to form coherent sentences. She reads and writes compulsively.

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