Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Huckleberry Hound has chased me down

I'm going through interrogation today. I have to drive to Coeur d'Alene to endure a half hour's worth of intense questioning, to which in some cases, I may be wise to simply plead the Fifth Amendment and avoid incriminating myself or others. Take, for example, the following question:

What did you and/or your fellow teachers do to Larry Spencer when he was your student to turn him into such a rabid, foaming anti-public school attack pomeranian?

Now, what's a person to say? Larry was, indeed, my student for a time, and Larry's now known as the constituent with deep pockets who has sent out several mass mailings to convince voters to vote "no" on issues he felt would spell doom for taxpayers.

Now, I get along with Larry just fine, but I unequivocally and categorically (isn't that nice politician lingo?) inflicted no Pavlovian tactics on him---ever. Those must've come later in his academic journey. When Larry sat in my English class as a sophomore in high school, we worried more about Word Clues sentences, stabbings of Roman dictators and turning in assignments. Besides, I thought of him as more of a contented Lab back in those days.

And, then there's the question about the "moldy-cheese layer" of Sandpoint. Now, I've been around Sandpoint a long, long time, but I cannot speak with great authority on the "moldy cheese layer" in our community unless it deals with someone's dirty socks. Apparently, it's a term for young unwed mothers, but I've never quite heard of that sociological segment of society referred to in such ways. So, I'll approach that one carefully.

Finally, someone wants to know what I think about showing the movie "Brokeback Mountain" to a class of 12-year-olds----which apparently happened in a classroom somewhere in this nation---probably geology class, cuz those gorgeous mountains sure did have some interesting faults.

Talk about being on the hotseat. I told my friend Ann that if I were that teacher, I would have checked with the principal first and if, by some stretch of the imagination, it progressed from there, I'd send home the obligatory notes to Mom and Dad or to whoever's minding the children. Then, I'd call in sick, have them hire a substitute and blame it all on the sub.

These educational situations are on the minds of folks who were asked to submit questions for me during a half-hour's guest appearance on "Huckleberries Gone Wireless" with my Blogfather Dave Oliveria. There were others---about my thoughts on home school or whether science and math get too much emphasis over other disciplines.

Never dreamed that writing a book about the lessons I learned as a teacher for 33 years would elicit such demand for my modest amounts of knowledge. Believe me, folks, an educational expert/pundit I'm not. A storyteller I am. So, it should be interesting.

Dave tells me I'll sit in his office from 10:30-11 a.m. while he sits with his laptop at the ready, asks me questions and then types the answers. Every five minutes or so, he'll upload the answers to the "Huckleberries Online" blog, so readers can see what the results of this relatively new style of public discussion. The text-only interview will appear on the Huckleberries blog for the rest of the day.

So, if you're interested, tune in to ( between 10:30-11 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time today. And, tell your friends. It could turn out to be mighty scary or a heckuva lot of fun-----as is any new frontier we embrace.

Now, before heading to Coeur d'Alene, I've got to go off and do some sleuthing about the "moldy cheese layer." Any suggestions? Anyone? Anyone?


Word Tosser said...

Show how dense I am... I thought they were talking about the odor that came from the cheese factory on Lake. lol..
So how do you feel about home schooling... and if you were not a teacher, what would you have like to have been?

MLove said...

Hi, Cis,

It's all on Huckleberries; check it out.


Anonymous said...


I sure didn’t mean to stump you. The term moldy cheese layer goes back to a committee I sat on with you and a former superintendent, actually I believe he called himself Chief Executive officer because, it turned out he didn’t even have a college degree. I think he called it a faculty advisory committee. Anyway, he once got us all talking about Sandpoint and what it takes to pass a levy in this town. I don’t remember what it was, but he came up with a really lame metaphor comparing the anti levy folks to something really weird. This got me to thinking and in an e-mail to him, I came up with an even worse metaphor comparing the citizens of Sandpoint to a lasagna. I went on to say that Sandpoint’s lasagna while mostly delicious has a layer of moldy cheese. In this I was referring to the meth heads and unparented kids that seem to make up an ever-increasing part of our school population. If you taught mostly honors classes, you may not have dealt with them as much. I’m talking about the kids that are on the verge of being uneducable because of their lousy attitudes toward school and, it seems, life in general.

The girl I saw the other day brought this home to me again. She was in front of the library after school hanging with her friends and joking - a typical 15-year-old except for the baby in a car seat that she was swinging around. How different her life is now and in the future than her peers. And in 7 short years that baby will probably be in my classroom. You’re right in that a teacher has to learn that you can’t save them all. But at the same time I get paid to try to help the ones in my class and I get up every day and do just that.

Anyway, Nice job on the interview today. I like the little dig you got in at the spokesman by not mentioning them in talking about Sndpoint journalism. I sure miss their office here.


Spencer said...

> "What did you and/or your fellow teachers do to Larry Spencer when he was your student to turn him into such a rabid, foaming anti-public school attack pomeranian?"

She tought me to question things without accepting a pre-packaged answer as fact and fight for the truth even if it means being called nasty names.

yep, it's all her fault.

MLove said...


Ah, do we have memories of those good ol' days of CEO's, et. al. If you read my responses, you'll see one of the things I DON'T miss about teaching is the politics, and I'd say during that time you mentioned the politics was at its best. I don't remember the "moldy cheese" terminology, but it could be among the many strange terms coined out of frustration with some of the dysfunctional political scenes I witnessed during my 33-year career with the district.

I empathize with your frustrations at watching students self-destruct, and, in the brief period for questioning yesterday, it was difficult to go at length at responding to some questions.

I have seen some of those cases, to which you referred, turn around and rise out of their desperate situations, and I can't help but wonder if someone didn't come along somewhere along their way to point them a direction, offer them hope and support them in their efforts.

On the other hand, there were the very sad cases, especially with drug problems, that continued to spiral downhill. We all do our best to rescue them in whatever ways we can, but the reality is that we just can't save everyone who comes through our classroom.

We just continue to do our best.