By Rainer Wasinger
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or the school system has failed you so bad that someone is reading this to you, you’ve probably heard grim news about American public schools. Longtime Chancellor of New York City Public Schools Joel Klein penned a piece entitled “The Failure of American Schools” and the Huffington Post has an entire category of articles called “Failing Schools.”
So, the experts think there’s a problem. I’m not an expert. Additionally, I’d like to add some qualifiers, because no one student’s experience is alike, and for what it’s worth, mine may have been more out of the ordinary than others. First and foremost, I went to public school in a district that was not only decidedly well off and open to spending generously on education, but was also particularly well suited to draw talented teachers. My hometown is often named one of the most educated cities in the United States, earns high quality of life ratings, and my high school is a two minute walk from an excellent research university. Smart people want to live here and smart teachers want to teach here.
Jessie Bernard, 17
The longer you look at something, the uglier it will get. This is just human nature. We’re accustomed to notice the deterioration of beauty. Cracks in the sidewalk and dilapidated fences are the perfect background for your senior pictures, but if the tables were turned and you were the one who was old and broken and falling apart, you would not be so beautiful.
I bet you thought you were beautiful, too. On some level, maybe physical or figuratively. You probably are, but all the things you love about yourself quickly turn to dust the minute you think of yourself as insignificant.
You see, the only beautiful thing about you that won’t change in twenty years is your mind and your ability to think for yourself. Looks will only get you so far in life, but you’ll be significant if you put your mind to good use.
By Rudolph Robertson, 18
A month into my senior year I was already being inundated with forms and information about graduation. I was still adjusting to being a senior. I was hardly prepared to order a cap and gown, and scarf, and sweatshirt, and mug, and photos, and 800 announcements, and blankets, bags, earbuds, envelope seals, tankards, tiaras and a $500 class ring. I just wanted to order my cap and gown as cheaply as possible and forget it until May (they still email me pretty much biweekly to buy their crap but that’s never gonna happen). But I tried to keep it as simple as possible and dutifully attended the presentation by the company from which we were to buy these items. The rep for this company was a perky, attractive lady of about 38 years old. The delightful slideshow of ... amazing things that we should buy... culminated in a picture of her at her own graduation. Now this wouldn't have been an issue had she not clearly made fun of the other girl in the picture.
Cooper Waters & Clay Linden
It’s Friday night. You’re at a football game with your crew, its packed and getting increasingly rowdy. Word gets out that your parents are out of town, and everyone is looking to throw down at your place. You freeze as an upperclassman comes up to you and asks something along the lines of “Is it cool if we have some people at your place?” You can’t really say no, so you hesitantly mumble “ uh… I guess so.”
Yes, Officer, Is There Something Wrong?
You’re driving with your friends, having a great time. You’re only going a little over the speed limit. Or your town has a curfew, and you didn’t leave your friend’s house in time, so you get in your car to drive home and start rushing because you don’t want to get into trouble with your parents. Or you desperately want to see your girlfriend, so you wait until your parents are asleep and then sneak out the back door. It’s awesome to be outside enjoying the night air—until a police car slowly pulls up beside you . . .
I've struggled with gamer gate for a long time. I've gone back and forth on whether or not to write a piece about it because I felt that I wasn't knowledgeable enough, not prepared to write on a world that I certainly don't belong in anymore, if ever. However, I think that the causes of my inhibitions are fodder enough for a complete, insightful article.
We had a guy write us about apologizes. Here's what he asked and our response.
"I'm a 15 year old boy, and I read The Guide and really found it useful, so thank you for that. After reading the section on fake apologies, I wanted to ask your opinion on using, "I'm sorry if you feel that way" as an apology....
This is an excerpt from The Guide and we thought it'd be fitting for the fall sports.
Your coach is a dick.
You have to learn to work with people you hate or don’t respect, and sometimes that person might be your coach. You do become a stronger person by getting through this kind of situation. When do you know if you should stay or you should quit?
Annoying but Acceptable:
From the blog of P.M. DeVuono
“Hey Mr. D! Would you ever fight a student?” It was a common question I’d heard over the years. To which, I would always answer, “No.” “You mean you’d let some kid hit you?” they’d ask, voices filled with incredulity. “No, No. You are asking me two different questions. You see, I think of a fight as a contest for dominance which requires self restraint. Getting hit requires self defense.” Now dear reader you may rightly accuse me of semantic hair splitting and you’d be correct. But, sometimes in the classroom, even the bald guy has to split a few hairs to get his point across. There is a difference between a contest for dominance and a life saving battle of self-defense. At this point if Erick was in the room he’d say, “Hey Mr. D., tell that story about that time when you were a kid – you know what I mean.” And I’d have to tell it all again…