13. June 2015 · 5 comments · Categories: News


Sorry I haven’t been here in a while, but it’s been a crazy past couple of months. Mostly because of working as a substitute K5 teacher in the inner city since February, doing all it takes to run a decent classroom, then wrapping it all up at the end of the academic year.

It about killed me. Physically and mentally, it’s a younger person’s game. But now that it’s over I can say that it was a good experience. I’m really glad I did it. I learned a lot about myself, specifically the depths of my impatience and love. I had the good fortune to work with the most congenial faculty ever, talented educators I have a great deal of respect for. I was the third teacher my kindergarteners had this year, not a good situation by any means; they did not want to listen or buy anything I had to offer, and who could blame them? I found out I’m a firm teacher who can be mouthy, who likes to use pop culture examples to make points, who is capable of showing love. Eventually, first thing every morning I was greeted with lots of hugs from six-year-olds, a wonderful way to start the day. Somehow we muddled our way through. They graduated on June 4.

An especially sad moment in the four-plus months I spent at this school was the sudden death of the father of one of my students. One of the last bits of writing I did was an essay about his funeral for OnMilwaukee.com. It was one of the saddest and most beautiful events I’d ever attended.

Very soon I am off to Europe with my father to visit the place where I was born. It is a trip whose planning has been in the works for some time now; the place has been part of my mental landscape forever, and it will be mind-blowing to finally see and experience it.

When I come back I will be writing a lot for clients and about the trip, beginning work on a book, and starting a new series of essays on growing up in Cleveland. I will also resume writing Living Commentary essays for OnMilwaukee.com, who’s been very understanding about my recent two-month absence from their pages.

I hope your summer is off to a great start. See you again soon!


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  1. Robin

    Thank you, Jim!

  2. Bon Voyage, Chantal! Amour, Saillie

  3. Can’t wait for the stories gathered while you have an adventure. Wishing magic and love, for you.

  4. Safe travels. Can’t wait to read about it

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