Thus ends my second year as an English teacher at an alternative setting. My plans are to witness my students’ graduation and move on. I can’t say whether I am leaving teaching, but I know that I am leaving this setting. It has been so rewarding and so trying. I made it this long, and it is time to move before becoming stagnant. I would like to thank my students and readers.

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Student Essay

Terrion Jackson

February 7, 2011

ELA II: Drama

Draft II

Julius Caesar and Macbeth: A Comparison of Two Shakespearean Tragic Heroes

Julius Caesar and Macbeth are two Shakespearean characters that may be identified as tragic heroes. The actual Julius Caesar became a dictator for life after warring with Pompey, the previous dictator of Rome. Upon meeting him in Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,” he is not yet the “dictator for life” but he is extremely politically powerful. Julius Caesar will try to move forward toward the goal of becoming dictator for life, but he will not accomplish it. Macbeth was a fictional character who dealt with witches and suffered a tragic downfall as a result of a few dark prophesies. His main goal is hold on to the crown that he stole from the true king of Scotland after murdering him. (Give me your thesis statement) Julius Caesar and Macbeth are tragic heroes.

To begin, both characters have tragic flaws. A tragic flaw is a weakness about a character that leads to a downfall. Julius Caesar was a good person, which means he was a man who has goals and sticks to them. He has a multitude of weaknesses, including impotence, epilepsy, allowing his enemies to flatter and get to close to him, and wanting popularity at any cost. He wants to become the dictator, but he makes a bad choice when he picks his enemies for his new political regime, a decision that leads to his tragic downfall.

In contrast, Macbeth is an unlikable character. He comes into power by lying on the two guards in the story. He becomes the king of Scotland through cowardly letting his wife boss him around. His cowardice and fearfulness soon turns into a lust to hold on to his power at any cost.  Through the course of the story, he kills many people from Duncan’s, the previous king’s, regime. In the end, Julius Caesar and Macbeth both had power and lost it due to their tragic flaws.

Not by mistake, both stories involved prophesy. In “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar,” a soothsayer at the Festival of Lupercal warns Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March.” Caesar doesn’t know what to do with the strange prophesy and continues in his normal ways. During the Ides of March, on March 14, there is terrible weather, which the conspirators take to mean the gods want Julius Caesar dead.

Similarly, Macbeth is coming home from war and he encounters three witches. They tell him that he is not only Thane of Glamis but Thane of Cawdor as well. He is surprised by this political promotion, and wonders how it could be. They go on to tell him that he will be King of Scotland. He goes home and tells his wife, who prompts him to kill the King. This treachery sets off a chain of events and eventually war between Macbeth and the true heir to the throne of Scotland, Malcolm. Both Julius Caesar and Macbeth seem to have the attention of the supernatural.

Most importantly, both characters suffer tragic downfalls. Julius Caesar is assassinated by a group of political conspirators, including his best friend, Brutus. Macbeth tries to hold onto his kingship and in the end his head gets chopped off and peace is restored.

In conclusion, Julius Caesar and Macbeth both die. They both had the crown which was taken very quickly. They both had tragic flaws, which lead to their tragic downfalls, called catastrophes. The two characters were set in completely different locations and circumstances, yet the fate of both tragic heroes was an untimely but honorable death.


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What kind of emergency have you experienced?

My worst emergency occurred when I broke my leg. It started when my cousin and I were playing around really rough. Before long,  I was down on the ground screaming to the top of my lungs. So, my mom came out to check on me. She asked me why I was screaming so loudly. Soon, I was at the hospital getting my pink cast fitted. That cast stayed on for four months, before I twisted my leg again. It was a horrible experience.

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Describe an emergency that you experienced in a narrative paragraph.

Once, I suffered a medical emergency when I sprang my ankle playing basketball. When it occurred, I was outside with my brothers and neighborhood friends. When my friend was going for the lay up, I jumped. When I came back down, some how my right angle bent all the way to where my ankle was touching the concrete. It really hurt! When I stood up, I walked on it for about ten aching minutes. The next moment, I could not even walk on it. I was hopping around from place to place. I went to the hospital, and the doctor wrapped it up.

M. Jackson

Disclaimer: All student writers had mandatory parental waivers signed. The views expressed on this class blog do not necessarily reflect the views of EBRAA or EBRPSS.

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Family Virus

Dear Students,

Over the course of the weekend, my wife had come down with a horrible stomach virus. I cared for her and the kids to the best of my ability, and then I too had a horrible stomach virus. I am recovering today, thanks to the help of my beautiful wife. It is funny how we communicate our love for each other sometimes–like cleaning up throw-up!

Since Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, we should re-address a favorite topic, love. Many of you already have your romantic dates marked on the calendar for February 14th, and I am happy for your good fortune. I would like to convince you that a date is more than just a chance to get a goodnight kiss.  It is more like a highly important job interview. In this interview, you have a mission: Find out if that person is honest, hard working, socially well adapted, and responsible. Since you are already on the date, there must have already been some spark of physical attraction that lead you both to agree to the meeting.

Further, here are some more important questions that directly relate to “love.” Is that person willing to clean bathrooms? Can they manage a group of people in a stressful environment? Do they keep a clean house? Do they arrive to their actual jobs on time (because your finances will be in their hands one day)? Do they honor promises with other people? Have they ever lied to someone who they love? Do they make good investments with their money, or are they already in debt? Ask this person if their car is paid for. Find out where they shop. Do a little investigative work for yourself, before you are hit with Cupid’s little arrow.

If you think it is too late, it is not. Ask someone very old who has been married for many years to talk with you and help you analyze your relationship. You might be surprised by what they say.

I would wish you good luck, but sometimes “Luck’s got nothing to do with it.”


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Dear: “Secret Santa” From: The “Grinch” and Students

Dear Secret Santa,

What a week at EBRAA! One of my smartest students was knocked out on Monday, a student stole my favorite scarf and won’t return it on Tuesday, our students practically rioted on Wednesday, a student belched in my face on Thursday, and a student of mine had his face beat at 7:15 a.m this morning…for the second time this week.

Yet, in the midst of our day-to-day routine, you organized a favorite holiday tradition, the four-day “secret Santa.” I probably let you down a couple of those days, due to my own forgetfulness. For that, I am sorry. I hope your week was still merry. Upon musing about you with one of my students, we figured that you probably still remained positive. You have an inspiringly positive personality, which is actually contagious to all who surround you. After looking back at many tough weeks as a part of this faculty, I often wonder, “Why do I work here?” Maybe I’m just masochistic, but I think there is more to the lure of this particular school setting.

Confession: I listen to John Tesh radio sometimes; you know, “Intelligence for Your Life.” This guy is nauseating at times, but yesterday he said something that hit home. He reported on what causes an employee to “burn out,” and what causes an employee to feel satisfied at a job: 

1. A feeling of autonomy and power over something at the job.

2. A feeling that the employee makes a difference in the world.

3.  The employee views co-workers as friends.

The last condition is the most important, and I think it is why faculty and students look upon you so highly. News Flash: “You are friendly to everyone!” Thank you for being so kind to me and to everyone else that walks into the office in the morning. I think your attitude spreads to everyone you meet. You give me copy paper when I send a student to get it. You are always willing to help. I will end this soliloquy with a request; keep it up, because we need you on this campus! 

Finally, your gift:

This is a gift especially for you,
I’m your Secret Santa, I bet you can’t guess who.
Accept this gift with a smile on your face,
And expect NO MORE in it’s place.
Spread holiday cheer to family and friends,
Because the joy of Christmas never ends.

Now turn the page to F-215,

Then get in your car and drive away from these teens.
From the students:
My elves have been busy making this gift just for you,
They told me you’re special but I already knew.
As your Secret Santa I hope you’ll enjoy,
This heartfelt sentiment and new little toy.

Here is a student poem inspired by “Phenomenal Woman,” by Maya Angelou:

Pretty woman,

I wonder what you think.

You are intelligent and phenomenal,

even when you blink.

When the fellows walk into the office,

they fall down on their knees.

You are a phenomenal woman,

and everyone agrees.

by Kiana Elmore

9th grader at EBR Acceleration Academy

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Where do you store your wealth?

An intriguing subject to muse upon today is wealth. Students, I drive a 1995 Rav4. I have ten bucks in my wallet on a good day. My phone is simple. I cut my own hair. Why even read on? Why should you take advice from a self proclaimed “tight wad?” More importantly, do you really want financial advice from a teacher? No way! On second thought, would you take advice from someone who has no car note, fantastic insurance for his family, a rental property that pays for his mortgage, and a job that allows for a summer and Christmas holiday vacation?

Anyone can work towards financial freedom, even a teacher! Further, even a student can work towards becoming financially free. The earlier you start, the easier and more successful the journey becomes. I will never forget the day that I walked into the bank and asked for my own account. It was the most incredible feeling to have my name on that financial statement every month. I was 17, and the statement was humble to say the least.

Many claim to be wealthy or poor, but why doesn’t anyone brag about being “financially free?”  David Bach’s hit, “The Automatic Millionaire” is one of my favorite books. It stresses the importance of financial independence through automating one’s savings plan. After automating the savings plan, the only difficult part is deciding where to put the money.

The photograph below, courtesy of the National Digital Library,  features acorns carefully stored in the trunk of a tree. The woodpecker diligently places its wealth in storage, until it needs to make a withdrawal. Compared to the woodpecker, we have the digital-age advantage of sending our paycheck directly to the bank when we set up automatic draft. From the bank, we can then digitally transfer funds to whatever we choose! 

Everything sounds so simple…until you put yourself in a high school setting. Then, you have to look like you are a millionaire. A logical confusion arises out of the tendency to appear rich with funds that are only borrowed from credit cards charging 20% interest on late payments.

When you buy your first car, is it going to be the one that saves you money on gas, has low mileage, and has good a/c for summers in Louisiana? I see the following all the time: Student earns money. Student blows half of earnings. Student then puts a down payment on a classic car that “isn’t ready to be driven yet.” Why? In the meantime, the same student is bumming rides with everyone and making excuses why they can’t get a job! The logic is flawed, and …I’m guilty for wanting the same thing in high school.

Monday, a male student walked into my reading class wearing an expensive looking long pea coat and white leather gloves. He was actually laughed out of the room. Students try so hard to look like they have it all together.  The result is both hilarious and sad at different times.

The “display” phenomenon appears in nature, time and time again. This photograph of a peafowl, (courtesy of NDL), displays a proud animal that is rich in physical appearance. When the peacock makes a colorful display of his tail feathers, he also appears larger and more formidable.

Since it is uncommonly cold this winter, I have occasionally sported Ralph Lauren, Polo, sweaters to class. When I choose to wear Polo gear, my students make positive comments, almost to a flaw. I always rebut, “You can find this at your local Dirt Cheap franchise for two dollars.” They laugh, but I’m being honest. Clothing is not now nor will it ever be a true investment. True investments actually create a return. Clothes are more like a necessity. For example, if you do not wear a suit to that job interview, then you NEED to begin looking for another job. Therefore, I spend as little as possible on clothes, and you should too.

My favorite tie features a repeating pattern of basset hound profiles. Admittedly, it is quite “kitchy.” Rightly so, I was fielding multiple insults about this tie every time I wore it, until one day a student discovered it was Polo. The news went around school, until all of my students learned to respect “The Tie.” Ralph Lauren, you have my students by the heartstrings. Are you any good at English II?

The views expressed by BLUEGREENBROWN do not necessarily reflect those of EBRPSS or EBRAA.

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