You may be saying that about your student’s parent

Content note: This post is mostly intended for k-12 classroom teachers, but probably applies to other groups as well.

When you teach, it’s really important to be mindful of the fact that people from all walks of life have children. 

When you say something about a particular group of people, you may be saying it about a student’s mother, father, or parent. It’s important to keep that in mind when making decisions about how to discuss things. (Including things that it’s 100% your job to teach your class about).

When you express an opinion about a group of people, your student may hear it as “I think this about your mother”, “I think this about your father”, or “I think this about you and your family.” Don’t forget that, and don’t assume that you will always know who is in the room.

It’s worth speaking with the assumption that there are people in the room who know a member of the group you’re talking about personally. When you’re working with kids, it’s worth speaking with the assumption that this person might be their parent or someone in a parental role.

This is important whether what you’re saying is positive, negative, or neutral. If you speak in a way that assumes that what you’re saying is theoretical for everyone, it can make it very hard for a child to whom it is personal to trust you. And you can’t assume that you will always know a child’s family situation, or that you will always know how a child feels about it.

For instance:

  • Many parents are in prison, have been imprisoned in the past, are facing trial, are on probation, have been arrested, have been accused of crimes, have been convicted, are on house arrest, are facing some other kind of court-ordered punishment or similar.
  • Many parents are police officers, prison guards, judges, prosecutors, probation officers, or in a related role.
  • Many parents (and children) have been the victims of violent crimes. (Including crimes committed by police officers.) Some children may have lost parents this way.
  • All of these people are parents, and most of their children go to school.
  • Some of their kids may be in your class, and you may not know this.
  • Even if you do know about the situation, you probably don’t know how they feel about it.
  • Kids have all kinds of feelings about all of these things (including, often, complicated mixed feelings).
  • If you want to talk about prison issues, crime, justice, legal reform, or any of that, it’s important to keep in mind that whatever you say about one of these groups of people, you may be saying it about a student’s parent.
  • And that you don’t know how they feel. 
  • Speak in a way that gives them space to have opinions, and to be both personally affected and part of the class.
  • If you say “we” and mean “people who aren’t personally connected to this issue”, kids are likely to feel that you are distancing yourself from them and their parents.
  • It’s better to speak with the assumption that what you’re saying applies to the parents of one of your students, and that they may have complicated thoughts and feelings about this.


  • People of all races have children of all races. When you say something about a racial group, you may be saying it about a student’s parent.
  • People with all kinds of disabilities have children. When you say things about disabled people or disabilities, you may be saying it about a student’s parent.
  • (Including blind people, deaf people, autistic people, people with intellectual disabilities, wheelchair users, people with conditions that usually shorten lifespan, and every other kind of disability).
  • When you talk about teenage pregnancy, keep in mind that some students may have parents who were teenagers when they were born.
  • People of all political opinions, including abhorrent opinions, have children. When you say something about members of a political group, you may be saying it about a student’s parent.
  • People who work at McDonalds have children. When you talk about McDonalds workers and people in similar roles, it’s extremely likely that you’re talking about a student’s parent. (Especially if you teach in a public school).
  • Many people who do sex work have children. If you say something about strippers, porn stars, escorts, phone sex operators, dominatrixes, or whoever else, you may be saying it about someone’s mother, father, or parent.
  • People of all faiths and ethnicities have children (who may or may not be raised in their faith). If you say something about a religion or its followers, you may be saying it about the parent of one of your students.
  • And so on.

Being more abstract again:

  • People from all walks of life have kids, and you may be teaching some of their kids.
  • Keep that in mind.
  • Whatever you say about a group of people, you may be saying it about your student’s mother, father, or parent.
  • If you speak about it like it’s an abstract issue that couldn’t apply to anyone in the room, it’s likely to be really alienating.
  • This is true even if what you say is positive or sympathetic.
  • Kids need to be seen and acknowledged. If you speak as though they’re not there, it gets harder for them to trust you.
  • When you speak about a group of people, speak with the assumption that at least one student in the room has a parent who is a member of that group.

(To be clear: I’m not saying don’t talk about these issues. Sometimes it’s 100% your job to talk about these issues. What I am saying is, keep in mind that it may be personal, that you may be talking about a student’s parent, and that you won’t always know that this is the case. Taking this into account makes it possible to teach everyone in the room.)

tl;dr When you’re teaching, keep in mind that the kids in your class probably have parents, and that you don’t know everything about their parents. Their parents may come from any and every walk of life. Keep this in mind when you talk about issues and groups. You may well be talking about a student’s mother, father, family, or parent. 

LGBT History Classes Are Coming to California Schools
California is hoping to bring schools into the 21st century. On Thursday, the California State Board of Education voted on new curriculum for its history and social science courses that expands its teaching on LGBT history, including “a study of the role of contributions” of “lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”

The new guidelines will extend to elementary, middle, and high school courses, as the Associated Press reports.

“In second grade, California students will learn about families with two moms or two dads,” writes the AP. “Two years later, while studying how immigrants have shaped the Golden State, they will hear how New York native Harvey Milk became a pioneering gay politician in San Francisco.”

During their senior year, students will also study the 2015 SCOTUS decision legalizing same-sex marriage, as well as the nationwide fight over public bathroom access for transgender individuals. The updated guidelines were based in the 2012 passage of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act. Sponsored by State Sen. Mark Leno, the legislation mandated that California K-12 institutions include marginalized groups often excluded from public school curricula. This includes people of color, religious minorities, and those with disabilities.

Conservative groups have long sought to overturn the bill, with right-wing organizations petitioning to have it struck down at the ballot box. That attempt failed, unable to collect the minimum number of signatures for inclusion. The FAIR Education Act faced a number of other obstacles to being effectively put into place, according to the AP. “Its implementation was slowed by attempts to overturn it, competing educational priorities and budget cuts that stalled work on drafting recommendations for the school board and textbook purchases,” the AP reports.

LGBT advocates complained that the initial guidelines, passed in 2014, barely broached the subject of equality at all, teaching a handful of important figures. Tom Torlakson, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, told the AP that resolving these issues by providing inclusive, comprehensive teaching on LGBT lives is of great benefit to both schools and the youth they serve.

“This document will improve the teaching and learning of history and social science,” Torlakson stated in a press release. “It will give our students access to the latest historical research and help them learn about the diversity of our state and the contributions of people and groups who may not have received the appropriate recognition in the past.”

Allyson Chiu, a junior at Cupertino High School in Cupertino, Calif., said this instruction will most crucially impact LGBT students, many of whom don’t know their history. For students seeking to become comfortable in their identity, she said that can be a lifeline.

“My classmates can solve quadratic equations or cite the elements on the periodic table,” Chiu told the AP. “They can’t tell you who Harvey Milk was or the significance of the Stonewall Riots.”

The FAIR Education Act will likely, however, face continued obstacles to implementation, both from conservative groups and parents. Between the December 2015 and the end of February 2016, the California Department of Education received more than 10,000 emails about the bill, as the AP reports.

The MST3K Reunion Show

The RIFFTRAX LIVE Mystery Science Theater 3000 Reunion Show shown live on June 28 will be rebroadcast in movie theaters around the USA and Canada this Tuesday evening, July 12 (a.k.a. tomorrow, or if you’re reading this Tuesday, TODAY. Hurry!).

For theaters near you, tickets, more info, etc., please go here:


A little behind-the-scenes stuff for those interested: when my RiffTrax colleagues agreed to this cockamamie idea of mine, it was clear right away that the basic model to use for this show was the shows we’d done at SF Sketchfest, with celebrity guests: a bunch of crazy old short films like the ones we’d often open the show with on MST3K, and still do regularly at RiffTrax; bringing each guest / guests on in turn. This would give all our old colleagues some time to shine in the spotlight alone, give us RiffTraxers time to clown around with each other and with guests between shorts, and accommodate a lot more people than if we just did a single movie. 

This show was a thrill to do.  As one of the hosts to our former MST3K pals, I had the time of my life occasionally stepping offstage for once and enjoying the show. Mary Jo and Bridget absolutely killed with our first guest short.  Next Trace and Frank brought the house down and showed why they are a classic comedy team for the ages.  Then founder of the feast Joel plus new kid Jonah thrilled the audience with belly laughs a-plenty, and provided a cool link between MST3K past and future.  Finally we all crowded the stage and had ourselves a big danged movie-riffing party together.  All throughout I was proud as could be of our Rifftrax crew for making this happen. Even after all these years, Mike and Kevin never fail to amaze me with their limitless talents, and our RiffTrax staff was brilliant.

It was a LIVE live simulcast show, and the show was quite a bit more complex than our usual RiffTrax Live show – so we were white-knuckling the tech aspects a bit . But I’m happy to report that it all went swimmingly.  (Or, for fans of onstage debacles, I regret to report that one did not occur. TO MY KNOWLEDGE.) 

Please try to see the show tomorrow night if you can!  Again, for info and facts and whatnot:


(P.S. My one regret about the show is that J. Elvis Weinstein, the first Tom Servo + sidekick to Dr. F, couldn’t join us since he’s busy making a documentary. He was missed!)

A while back there was an article going around about how most white people don’t actually know any black people on a personal basis. I’m black and even though my mom is a teacher, I never really thought about how that fact also applies to just how few black teachers there are.

Other than football coaches, track coaches and one black man, I didn’t have any other black teachers. To recap: that’s a handful of black coaches, one black male teacher and no black women teachers from k-12, and none in three different universities. (I’m 32 so maybe things have changed, but that’s still saying something, because growing up we moved a lot up and down the East coast & I lived in a different state almost every year).


I Seoul U by Seoul Korea
Via Flickr:
Seoul’s brand, I Seoul U. Children’s Grand Park is the latest site for the giant I Seoul U sign which was previously at Yeouido’s Hangang Park. The park is popular any time of the year, especially for families, and includes a zoo, an amusement park, an indoor playground, as well as many outdoor playgrounds and plenty of open green spaces. Located in eastern Seoul, the park is easy to get to, being served by two subway stations as well as the city’s excellent bus routes. Why not come and visit this summer? Accessible from: Achasan Station, exit 4. Children’s Grand Park Station exit 1 or 2.

day 12

favorite DAY6 fancam 
- [this] cause brian tells the girl so carefully to ‘be careful’ in the beginning 
- [this] it’s not an official video nor is it a fancam but STILL .  i’ll probably continue to watch this till the day they release a studio version AND IT SOUNDS SO CLEAR 
-  [this] cause he looks and sounds so good and looks real happy (any fancam from this day is my fav tbh) 
- [this] because his voice when he says ya’ll ready @00:08 is sexy af and @1:08 IM DEAD
- [this] just because they all sound so good and BRIAN IS HOT as usual