Assign spelling words or read a short story in class, and it would take all of my wits to keep the texting, talking, sleeping and wrestling in check. But make it 80 words on "Would you give up your cellphone for one year for $500?" and every student -- even those who never did any schoolwork -- handed in a paper. When I read these essays to the class in dramatic, radio-announcer fashion, there was silence punctuated by hoots of laughter or roars of agreement or disagreement.
It was almost magic. It was really fun. And I often could squeeze in some spelling, even punctuation. But we weren't always quiet.
And, according to my personnel file at the New York City Department of Education, I was "unprofessional," "insubordinate" and "culturally insensitive."
In other words, I was a bad teacher.
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