Tim McMullen's Missives and Tomes

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rules for the First Day of School and the Rest of Your Life

Thanks, Paula. I actually had a great day. I got to listen to me talk (which if you've read any of my blogs or comments or seen my videos, you can tell I love to do) and played stuff and read stuff that made them laugh...and hopefully think.

I spend one minute on my class rules, which I argue are actually rules for success in school...in sports…in work...in relationships...in life.

There are only six;

Common Sense
Self Control

They are easy to understand, but hard to consistently execute.

And I only have a few Things That They Have to Learn to do better than they do at present:

Think—Read—Think—Listen—Think—Talk—Think—Write—Think! That's it!

Some would find it hard to believe and others would find it appalling, but I truly don’t care what they end up thinking as long as they end up with the tools and the willingness to figure out what it is that they actually think and understand why they think it.

My Class Slogans and Posters
I have a nice 13”x19” Epson printer, so they look pretty cool—
(All the images are mine, as are the slogans, unless otherwise noted):

Why be Normal? (a bumper sticker in the 70’s—
but it was mine before I saw the sticker)

The Trouble with Normal is it Always Gets Worse! (Bruce Cockburn)

Their Brains Were Small So They Died! (from a song by Mark Graham)
Ignorance is Weakness—Knowledge is Power! (Tim McMullen)

Face It—Ignorance is NOT a Marketable Skill! [Fox News not withstanding]
(Tim McMullen)

Envy is Ignorance…Imitation is Suicide (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Trust Thyself! (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Tomorrow is Forever and Forever is Now! (Tim McMullen)

Don’t Be Afraid! (Tim McMullen)

The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth! (Tim McMullen)

As I said, I had fun. I hope the students enjoyed their day as well.


  1. Tim, this is great stuff. You are a good teacher. I wish I had had a teach like you when I was young. Probably would have changed my life for the better.

    Your Friend, Bobby

  2. Thanks, Bobby. My first two days were fun. We'll see how the year goes.

    Thanks for the comment and the friendship,

  3. Teachers are the ONLY enemy of Tyranny.

    'The worst illiterate is a political illiterate. He did not hear, speak, nor participates in the political events. He does not know the cost of living, the price of beans, fish, flour, rent, shoes and medicine depend on political decisions. the political illiterate is so stupid that prides itself gases and chest saying that he hates politics. Do not know what idiot thought of his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned children, and worst of all criminals, who is the political con man, crook, corrupt and a lackey of the exploiters of the people. "
    Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956)

  4. Thanks, Amit.

    Brecht was certainly right, and the slavish clinging to a couple of Ronald Reagan's speech writer's catch phrases, "smaller government" and "lower taxes," while having a visceral appeal, are demonstrably destructive of the common good of the nation and the world when it means greater control by corrupt corporations and criminals. Nevertheless, they are the battle cry of the radical right who have whipped up the populist "tea partiers" into an ideological, self-destructive frenzy.

    You probably found this post through a "search," so you may not have read my last few posts. As of tomorrow, when the kids start back to school, I will be officially retired after forty years of teaching. I admit that I will miss the students and the introduction and discussion of ideas, but I will not miss the overt intrusion of flawed and failed Capitalist competitive principles that have not only destroyed our economic and political infrastructure, but are now wreaking havoc on our educational system as well.

    Thanks again for stumbling onto my blog and for leaving a comment.

    "The Greatest Threat to Democracy is Hypocrisy! Seek Truth! Speak Truth!" Tim McMullen