Slice of Life Tuesday: Antennas Up

This post is part of the weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!


Today, I was walking the dog, listening to podcasts, as I always do. This time, I was listening to Mike Birbiglia’s Working It Out episode with Keegan-Michael Key.

First of all. If you haven’t watched the Key & Peele sketch about the teacher draft, you are missing out. I’m going to say that now. In fact, I’m going to watch it again right now because it brings me joy.

So anyway, I was listening to Keegan-Michael Key talking about his time working on the MADtv show, and he talked about the summer hiatus. He mentioned that about two weeks out from production, he started to put his “antenna up,” as in, he would start filtering the world around him. as potential sketches or scripts.

As a teacher, my antenna is NEVER down. I am never not thinking about my students, never not thinking about how my life experiences might filter down into the classroom. Here is just a small sampling of how the life of a teacher bleeds into everything:

-I once drove around for about a year with a single shoe in the back of my car because I thought my students would enjoy taking it apart to see how it was constructed.

-Same with an old computer.

-And a blender.

-I fielded a text from a teacher about a lesson I tweeted about. She was in the airport waiting for a flight and found a resource that connected. A girl after my own heart.

-I texted a different colleague about how she could use the ESPN football summaries as part of her graphing unit.

-The books on my nightstand are littered with sticky notes and dog ears because they mark phrases or passages that I could use as mentor text.

-Whenever I’m on a trip, I cannot help but pick up maps, brochures, pamphlets and the like that might come in handy for a nonfiction lesson.

-My own offspring hear me talk about “my kids” and can no longer differentiate if I’m talking about them specifically, or the loveys in my classroom.

And you, my teacher friends? What are some of the weirdest ways that your teacher antenna stays up, that your teacher brain filters into the rest of your life?

Published by Lainie Levin

Mom of two, full-time teacher, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and holder of a very full plate

7 thoughts on “Slice of Life Tuesday: Antennas Up

  1. I think that one of the hazards of teaching is that we see a potential lesson in everything. That is why we collect things and have such a hard time throwing things away. I still have things from lessons I taught even though I have been retired for eight years and never plan on returning to the classroom. But, they may come in handy some day.

    1. Yes! Exactly. Throwing away files, shedding books or supplies…it’s like giving away a part of us. I think it also stems from that mentality of being prepared to teach anything they throw at us. We never know when someone will ask us to change schools, grade levels or subject areas…

  2. I see teaching opportunities in the same ways you mentioned. In sentences I read and highlight in my own books, in podcasts I’m listening to, in nature things I see outside, in conversations. Always, always teaching moments in everything. I guess this is what makes us passionate about what we do. Thank you for sharing and asking this question.

  3. Such a fun and spot on post, Lainie! When we went to Busch Gardens years ago, I took the park maps because I thought I could use them in a lesson. It’s so true- teachers are always connecting life to our classrooms. I have to check out that link you posted!

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