Mar 292011
 
The N-Word We Should Explicitly Teach to Our Students

“What’s that “N” word we were talking about last week?” I asked my students today.

“Networking!” shouted a flock simultaneously.

“Right!” I exclaimed, thrilled at how well the ongoing training was progressing. “And what does ‘Networking’ mean?”

“Meeting other people to connect ideas and opportunities,” one 8th grader offered. “Seeing how you can help someone with their project and goals,” added another, “and how they can help you on yours.” I nearly fainted in happiness. My Campaign [...Read More!]

Mar 272011
 
YMCA Kids, a Magic Castle, and an Odd Fortress in Boston

So, I just joined a gym that a bunch of my students go to: the YMCA. I thought it would be weird, but it’s actually really inspiring!

While I swirly-swirl on the elliptical stairmaster, I can look out at youth playing their hearts out on the basketball and volleyball courts below… and it really inspires me to work out as hard as them!

As adults, we can get kind of surly about hitting [...Read More!]

Mar 182011
 
Why Liminal, In-between Spaces Between Cities are Great

I’m on the train now, zipping southward from Boston, driving the passenger next to me crazy by snapping photo after photo out the window.

Sorry, sir, but the light is golden-perfect, and these photos are going to illustrate something I’ve been longing to sing to the world for a long time: the liminal spaces between cities are AMAZING!

A “liminal space” is defined as the threshold between two places, states of being, or [...Read More!]

Mar 092011
 
Join This Discussion to Uncover the Heart of Bullying!

This article is dedicated to the 150 eighth and tenth grade Boston Public Schools students I have the pleasure of teaching this year.

I figure the odds are pretty good that some of my sweet students sometimes experience the stress that comes with the middle and high school social scene… and so it’s time at last to start unearthing the photos and stories of my OWN skinny self in 8th grade, to [...Read More!]

Feb 222011
 
What We Can Learn from the Hubris of Teenage Boys

I began to write this article in my head as I bounced around the back seat of a car careening down Commonwealth Avenue during rush hour.

“What’s that woman’s problem?” scoffed the young man behind the wheel as I held on for dear life. “Sheesh, learn to drive, lady!” he hollered out the window as our car lurched around the lane.

I had just finished my own one-hour driving lesson (yes, I’m 29 [...Read More!]

Feb 122011
 
Crazy Scottish Food in Boston, or: The Night I Ate Haggis!

For the first part of the Robert Burns Scottish Dinner, no one would tell me what is actually IN Scottish Haggis.

“You’ve had McDonald’s before, right?” said David. “Well, then you’ve already ingested random animal parts. Don’t worry about it– just eat.”

Finally it came out: Haggis is a whole bunch of lamb parts (heart, liver, lung… maybe even “bollocks”), cooked in a sheep stomach. Wow. Haggis is traditionally served with “neeps and [...Read More!]

Feb 092011
 
Teaching Traveling Inspiration Night in Boston, March 31!

Why should we care if teachers follow their travel dreams or not?

Here’s one reason: if we teachers are telling students they can and should follow their dreams… shouldn’t WE do what it takes to follow our own travel dreams as well?

Speaking for myself, I was ready to leave teaching altogether when I left the country in August of 2009 after six years teaching in Boston Public Schools. I felt exhausted, in [...Read More!]

Feb 032011
 
From Hot Ghana Sweat to Giant Snow Banks, a Year Apart

It is difficult to write this because the heat has been broken in my apartment for five hours, and my bones (finger-bones included) are now ice-encrusted.

Maybe you’ve heard: we’ve had a liiiittle bit of winter weather here in Boston lately! What has it been: 6 giant blizzards in 6 weeks? 8 feet of snow total? Who knows. All I do know for sure is that we’ve had 5 Snow Days which [...Read More!]

Jan 292011
 
The Sexiest Sign in Boston (of Our City's Revitalization)

This quote from a March 3, 2010 Boston Globe article by Geoff Edgers sums up what you’re about to read:

“The once-grand Art Deco theater, which had become a dilapidated porno movie house by the time it closed in 1976, has been restored to its former glory.”

Wait… there was a ramshackle X-Rated movie house in the middle of downtown Boston just a generation ago?!

Yes, that is correct. Remember two articles ago how [...Read More!]

Jan 232011
 
A Former Student's Against-the-Odds Egypt Travel

It was late at night last month, and I was power-walking through the tunnel between the Red Line and the Orange Line in Boston’s Downtown Crossing. Suddenly a radiant grin appeared in front of me.

“Ms. Marshall!” my former student, ShiSha, hollered, and we fell into an embrace.

“How have you been?” I asked, breathless from the coincidence.

“I’m still working at Artists for Humanity,” ShiSha replied, referring to an amazing urban youth art [...Read More!]