Friday, March 29, 2013

Guest Poster: My Dad

One thing I love about my dad is that we share the same profession, so we always have a lot to talk about when the topic of education rolls around.  He was great at giving me tips and encouragement, and of course a funny story every now and then.  For a few years he taught at an alternative school in LA County, which means he taught the kids who got expelled.  This is probably my favorite story from when he was teaching there.

My dad (dressed up for a church party) and Olivia

Classroom Profanity 
A couple years back I taught at an alternative education school. Many of my classes at that school had a habit of using bad language and this one was especially bad. I was determined to extinguish the ugly habit so I created a reward system. Students would receive a sticker each time they made it through the day without swearing. It was a small reward but to my delight it was working; the students were trying hard to earn the daily sticker. After weeks of using the system and praising their progress I succeeded in getting my class to stop using profanity.

For a few days I was enjoying our new found serenity, the fruits of my labor, when a new student was assigned to the class. He was a fairly calm young man and seemed to fit in well. But about midway through the day without any noticeable provocation, he shocked us all but cutting loose with a string of profanity. The whole class went silent. They looked at me and waited for my reaction. For a few seconds time seemed to stand still. Then one of my students came up to me and quietly said, “Mr. Hermansen, he be thinking we roll like that but we don’t roll like that!” I got such a kick out of his comment that I started laughing. Soon, Miss Debbie, the instructional assistant was laughing too and I don’t remember if the culprit ever got disciplined for his outburst.


  1. I be thinking your dad did a great job teaching the class how to roll!

  2. I be thinking you be right, Kristi! :-)

  3. I subbed for your dad once in a general ed classroom, and then chose his class for one of my observations while completing my education credential. He is truly amazing, and his students know what to do and how to do it even when he is away. He is of the highest caliber!


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