Tag Archives: signature thoughts

Channeling Hemingway

In The Moveable Feast Ernest Hemingway said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence.  Write the truest sentence you know.” Well, lately that has been easier said than done on this here blog o’ mine.  Higher Ground High School has been a daily source of entertainment and potential blog fodder, but some of the most bizarre things that have been uttered in my office need individual posts and explanations of their own.  With that said, I cannot resist but list some of them here for you in complete random and out of context order just the way you (and by you, I mean I) like them.

  • His street name is Burnt Toast … because he’s really dark-skinned.
  • I didn’t beat his ass for realz; it was a friendly fade.
  • He hit his head on the big dude’s fist.
  • No, the floor was wet, and I slipped and hit my head on the labatory.   (Me:  The lavatory?)  Yeah, the zink.
  • All white people are not Mormons; some of them are devil worshipers.
  • You got some ashy ass lips … Where yo chapstick?
  • All I said to the teacher was “Damn.  We got another 20 minutes of this shit.”
  • (On a discipline referral which I later had to read aloud and explain to a parent) H****** referred to the other student as “Douche Bo Baggins.”
  • (singing) I like to move it, move it.
  • I can’t describe what she is wearing today because it is definitely something you have to see for yourself.
  • Gurl, you need to take yo bebe to the doctor; something is wrong with her eyes.
  • I  drank a forty for breakfast.
  • You ain’t no gangsta; I’ll show you gangsta just as soon as yo ass is in my car.

When I look back at these one true sentences, I recall another great Hemingway sentence:  “The good parts of a book may be only something a writer is lucky enough to overhear.” Won’t I be a lucky girl someday if this much is true? 

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Time Can’t Kill Mockingbird

Join the Celebration

Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee!

This heart-wrenching, coming-of-age tale set in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, has been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, served as the basis of an enormously popular motion picture, and was voted one of the best novels of the twentieth century by librarians across the country.

How has To Kill a Mockingbird affected you?  Share your story on Twitter #TKAM

As the self-proclaimed reader of banned books, I am often asked to name my favorite banned book and explain why I love it so.  Longtime readers of this blog know that Harper Lee’s coming of age novel To Kill a Mockingbird has impacted me not only as a woman, a parent, and an educator but more so as a human being.  Lee’s powerful words resonate with me each time I read the novel and long afterward.  I learned as many lessons about courage, compassion, and self-awareness from Atticus Finch as his children Jem and Scout did.

You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.

This simple yet crucial bit of advice should govern all of our lives.  I try to live my life by taking time to see things from every perspective.  We all struggle with trying to live with sympathy and understanding toward others.  If you have never read To Kill a Mockingbird, there is no better time than the present.  It is a timeless reminder that tolerance and compassion for all is just as clear today as it was 50 years ago.

Thank you, Miss Nelle Harper Lee, for enriching our lives.

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My high school English teacher passed away this week. She made a huge impact on my life and deeply influenced my decision to become an educator.   Coincidentally, the movie Dead Poets Society was released three short weeks after I graduated from high school in 1989.  It has always reminded me of the kind of educator she was and the one I strive to be day in and out … extraordinary.  Her passing and my impending transfer to high school reminded me that I do make a difference in the lives of others.  With that said and felt deep within, I am reminded of all the powerful words that echo throughout DPS.   Here are thirteen reminders for us all.

1.  “No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.”

2.  “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day … make your lives extraordinary.”

3.  “The powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

4.  “Sucking the marrow out of life doesn’t mean choking on the bone.”

5.  “There’s a time for daring and there’s a time for caution, and a wise man understands which is called for.”

6.  “I always thought the idea of education was to learn to think for yourself.”

7.  “We’re not laughing at you – we’re laughing near you.”

8.  “But only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.”

9.  “I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”

10.  “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”


12.  “This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls.”

13.  “Now, don’t just walk off the edge like lemmings! Look around you!”

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Happy Birthday, Mr. Einstein

In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.  ~ Albert Einstein

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Ay Ay Captain!

What are the actions and attributes of a leader? What is it that makes him different from others?

1. A leader is always full of praise.

2. A leader learns to use the phrases “thank you” and “please” on his way to the top.

3. A leader is always growing.

4. A leader is possessed with his dreams.

5. A leader launches forth before success is certain.

6. A leader is not afraid of confrontation.

7. A leader talks about his own mistakes before talking about someone else’s.

8. A leader is a person of honesty and integrity.

9. A leader has a good name.

10. A leader makes others better.

11. A leader is quick to praise and encourage the smallest amount of improvement.

12. A leader is genuinely interested in others.

13. A leader looks for opportunities to find someone doing something right.

14. A leader takes others up with him.

15. A leader responds to his own failures and acknowledges them before others have to discover and reveal them.

16. A leader never allows murmuring—from himself or others.

17. A leader is specific in what he expects.

18. A leader holds accountable those who work with him.

19. A leader does what is right rather than what is popular.

20. A leader is a servant.

~ Author unknown

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