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Teaching and Being Taught

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Finished grading research papers this weekend. My students wrote about why Amarillo schools need to spend more money on theater arts, what area motorists can do to improve bicycle safety, why educators need to address the social and emotional needs of dyslexic children, why the Texas Panhandle needs transitional homes for recently released prisoners, and […]

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Need a Quarterback?

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Sitting outside this evening watching neighborhood kids play football across the street. And remembering. All the fall afternoons my brothers and our friends did the same. The game would go on for hours, stopped only momentarily for a restroom break or when someone had to go home. Which meant rearranging teams. Had to keep them […]

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How to Relocate a Rattler

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Almost ran over a rattlesnake yesterday on my bicycle, and it made me think of favorite rattlesnake stories. Maybe the best came in the Spring of 2005. Clark, Chris and I were on a biking trip along the Caprock Canyon Trailway near Quitaque when we stopped at an Allsup’s. A clerk named Jackie told the […]

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Come on Baby, Let’s Do the Twist

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September 1960. Cassius Clay won a gold medal at the Rome Olympics, Mickey Mantle hit what was thought to be the longest home run ever (643 feet), and Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy held the first televised presidential debate in history. But for me and my 12-year-old classmates, something more life-changing was afoot. For […]

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Sometimes, I Forget

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I’ll just say it: sometimes, I forget things. Important things. Like phone messages I said I would deliver. Or projects I said I would complete. Or, just recently, a promise to send an email address to a friend. I don’t mean to forget. Which is the reason I carry a Day-Timer. When you ask me […]

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You Can Get There from Here

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You can get there from here. It’s what I’ve decided to tell my writing students frequently, maybe daily. What I mean is they all come to me (and to Amarillo College) with a dream. Many are trapped in seemingly hopeless circumstances: like living in the kind of poverty where they have a hard time making […]

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Stars

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Have to get away from the lights of the city to experience it. Like Saturday night at Hidden Falls Ranch. I’m talking about looking into a star studded sky on a cloudless night. Has a surreal feel to it. Almost enchanting. Like you’ve stepped into a painting, or a dream, or deep space itself. The […]

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A Teacher’s Legacy

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Hazel Sunderman died today. In the ’60s, she was my 7th grade English teacher, and, in the ’90s, one of my best fans. I’ve been a published writer for over 20 years now, and I have a Ph.D. in Technical Writing. But I don’t think I’ve learned anything new about grammar or sentence structure since […]