Author Archives: Mark E.P. Roberts

About Mark E.P. Roberts

teachermandc is Mark E.P. Roberts, a middle-aged, high school English teacher entering his ninth year of instructing young minds. This blog is an attempt to capture the challenge of teaching and the essence of learning. At a time when DC has become the epicenter of educational theory, this blog will keep its preferred focus on students in an somewhat typical DC high school. I have taught in both public and private schools. To date, 95% of my students are of color. All names have been changed, and complaints about in-house politics will be avoided. Hope you enjoy.

Still I Rise–the Mourning after Trump

You may shoot me with your words, You may cut me with your eyes, You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I’ll rise. –Maya Angelou It is Sunday already, five days after the election, five days … Continue reading

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A White Man on a White Horse and Other Republican Sightings

In Samuel Beckett’s masterpiece Waiting for Godot, the two main characters, Vladimir and Estragon, occupy a space that appears to exist without them, even as they dominate the scene. Throughout the two-act play, the men oscillate between confusion and inertia, … Continue reading

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Half Hugs and Unopened Gifts

This week, I went to this place where I started singing karaoke on Thursdays. I know most of the faces there now, but not the names. I saw one robust older woman whose refined manner and generous smile reminds me … Continue reading

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Cardinal Rules and Lasting Regrets

As the winter persists, we are keeping warm in the classroom with a number of hot topics.  Currently, we are reading The Kite Runner in World Literature.  It has been work getting a few students to move beyond their reticence to … Continue reading

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Kwanza and Family Ties

Two evenings ago, on Saturday, we gathered together with family and friends to acknowledge the start of Kwanza. It was a beautiful night of music and laughter and connection. My sister-in-laws brought cupcakes and my mother’s sweet potato soufflé. Our … Continue reading

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The Doer and the Deed

The first quarter has ended, and all the marks are parked. “Chase the knowledge, not the grade,” I implore the students. “The grades you won’t remember in twenty years, but the knowledge you get to keep.” But they have been schooled … Continue reading

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Higher Ground

  Each new year, my high school staggers student orientation by grade in descending order. Today, seniors and juniors return from summer break to obtain class schedules, lockers, and miscellaneous instructions about the year ahead. We have adopted a new, … Continue reading

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The Company English Teachers Keep

A few weeks ago, I attended an IB Conference at the United Nations International School in New York City.  I selected the IB English Literature workshop and eagerly became part of a room of English teachers from around the country. … Continue reading

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The Comfort of Skin: “Sometimes I Wish I Was White”

Now that I am away on summer break, part of me misses the bustle of students climbing stairs or commandeering choice seats near the windows. For my tenth graders, we ended the year with a multi-arced exploration of the role … Continue reading

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The Cherry Blossom Mystery

Two days ago, on Friday, I drove down to Haines Point after class.  It had been a good week.  My seniors were busy putting finishing touches on their written DC Neighborhood Project.  Teams of three or four had to adopt … Continue reading

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