Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I work at a school that everyone seems to know, one of those places that you can mention anywhere in the world and someone will say, "Oh, I know someone that once worked there." Or studied there. Or whose husband or wife or parent knew someone that visited once.

But the fact is that I myself attended a high school just like that.

Today I was conferencing with a couple of parents. Their daughter, born in New Jersey, is here for her junior and senior years to get a global education and get in touch with her Indian heritage.

Her parents and I were talking about something or other, and they asked me what school I had attended.

"I went to a big public school in Chicago," I said. "Of course it was the number one school in the city at the time."

"Which school?" the wife asked.

"Lane Tech."

"Really? My niece went there, too," she responded. "She graduated in 1991."

"Two years after me," I said.

We then chatted about how it used to be number one but isn't anymore, how things change, how no matter where you go, you run into someone with connections to the place.

This was a nice little coincidence because, just this morning as I walked to work, I realized that I've missed my 20-year reunion. During my 10-year reunion, I was living and working in Japan. And as I sat down to write this, I looked at the date--Sept. 29, or 9/29--and that reminds me that back at Lane I was in Division 929.

Something's going on.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Coffee break

Spent all day Saturday at school. From about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I was writing report comments for all my students. After that, I was working with the eleventh graders on the talent show. Such a long day calls for lots and lots of coffee. Luckily, we have a coffee machine that grinds out a pretty OK cuppa, so I can usually stay awake, even on the longest of days.

As I walked past some students for the third time, I stopped to chat.

"I saw on the Discovery Channel something about how coffee can kill you," I said. "Supposedly, if a person drinks 60 cups in one day, he'll die."

One of my guys looked at me and asked, "Sixty? Or sixteen?"

"Sixty. Six-oh," I said. "I want to test it out. This is my sixth cup so far."

And he responded with an all-time cute comment: "Can you please stop? I don't want you to die!"