The Punning Music Teacher Explains Some Country Songs

Country music has enjoyed explosive success for many decades, and no music class would be complete without recognizing some of country’s greatest stars. The category covers such a wide variety of human emotions and experiences that today, Class, we will concentrate on only a few singers who kept their topics in light, funny or off-beat modes. One of the most prolific writers and singers of country music is also one of the oldest; Willie Nelson, age 87, is still one of the most recognizable talents because of his versatility in…

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Never Underestimate What a Teenager Might Say or Do, Part 1

Being well into a teaching career and/or being a parent to a teenager can amount to a whole new learning experience for those who think they know a great deal about young people.  After all, we were their ages once, correct? We tend to forget much about how the teenage mind operates, plus we underestimate how much life has changed from one generation to the next. Volumes have been written by teachers or others who work with young people. There are nostalgic, heart-warming and surprising insights that teachers can recount…

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The Way Paper Work Usta Was

Before I launch into a rant about how things were years ago, the above title is partially based upon the mangled diction that comedian Jeff Foxworthy often used. He has been referred to as  “The King of Redneck Jokesters,” and in many ways, he represents the way comedians usta was – politically incorrect, glib and masterful in his stage presentation. Paper work in all its forms has undergone huge transformations in past decades so that now there are few similarities to how it usta was done. Both the production and…

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Farmer Leroy

Way back in time, not long after Leroy Elementary School was built, one of the farmers in Leroy Township happened to have a coincidental name: Leroy Furrow. He was so enterprising, ambitious and knowledgeable about agriculture and animal husbandry that he became a mentor to many successive residents. He could rightly be called the Father of Leroy Farming. Unfortunately, over time, students from the other townships in the Riverside School district took pleasure in teasing Leroy students, good-naturedly, of course, about Leroy Township’s  backward country ways. A bit of biographical…

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The Music Teacher Punning, Part One

Good morning, music- loving students. Today we will have a music history lesson that will instruct you in how music’s origin is not always straightforward. It is more complex than having a composer simply sit down and transfer lyrics and symbols onto a page. Many well-known musical compositions have a convoluted story behind them that one would hardly suspect. We will begin with some older compositions and work our way through to some wonderful music of the second half of the 20th century. Part I – Classics of America from…

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The Biology Teacher Punning – Unit II: Birds

Class, today we will begin a unit about birds, one of the most numerous and easily recognized categories of animals. The study of birds is called ornithology. John James Audubon has been known as America’s most authoritative bird expert. People enthusiastic about birds used to be called “bird watchers,” but recently “birders” has become the more common term. An exception to the spelling and pronunciation of the term can be heard in New York City, where one can see “boiders” in Central Park. One lesson birders should remember before craning their…

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Punsters in the Classroom Punning

Having a good sense of humor can be a plus for any secondary teacher, and RHS has had its share of teachers who were excellent jokesters and elicited many laughs at faculty gatherings. Maybe the students were lucky enough to appreciate these teachers’ wit at producing humor. A few names that come to mind between the 1960s and the 1990s were Bob Capella, instrumental music teacher; Dave Burris, art teacher; Carol Lewis, home economics teacher; Ron Shafer, health teacher and coach; and Paul King, social studies teacher and coach. Capella…

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A Dump Truck Full Of Strawberries

If the above title appears to be an impossible paradox, in reality it is, but in dreams anything is possible. That strangely loaded truck is part of my RHS subconscious memories. Doesn’t everyone at some point wonder about his or her dreams and how ridiculous they sometimes are? Dreaming about one’s workplace after retirement is, I think, common, and I’m making a guess that most people’s dreams about their workplaces contain unpleasant images. The dream scenarios may not be true nightmares but more often “frustration” sequences. I have had very…

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A Different Take on “The Dog Ate My Homework”

College students usually get used to the idea that term papers, sometimes called research papers, are required in many courses; however, having had nothing to do with college classes in many years, I need to qualify that statement by saying “they used to be required.” For all I know, they could have been abolished in some institutions of higher learning. For sure I can say that these lengthy compositions were required often when I was in high school and then at Toledo University from 1961-65. From another perspective, as a…

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Shakespeare’s Ghost is Alive and Well

The assassination of Julius Caesar, painted by William Holmes Sullivan, 1888. (CC-by-sa/2.0)

Anyone who has lived long enough to accumulate memories going back several decades probably can relate to feeling “haunted” by scenarios they wish would disappear out of their heads. Obvious examples would be horrors endured by military personnel, natural disasters one has survived, or something as simple as the memory of a crabby, long- deceased aunt whose picture still hangs on one’s wall (and has to stay there because she left a nice inheritance). My ghost, seemingly impervious to exorcism, is that of William Shakespeare. After many decades of exposure…

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