Friday, September 5, 2014

Theory 50a: All teachers develop ADHD. And here's a poem.

I stumbled upon a new theory today: "All teachers develop ADHD."

Only a few years into the profession, I should still be focused and sane, but I'm starting to wonder...and wander.

Delicious says I have "too many irons in the fire." She's right.
My days are packed with teaching, writing, getting another degree, managing my publishing company, raising Sharky and Gnome, and being "everything" to Tall Child. Oh, and I'm on a pre-breast reduction anti-snowman-appearing low carb diet, so I'm always cooking meat. I don't know how the pioneers built log homes and herded cattle without the modern crock pot. Maybe they kept those big cast iron pots over fires for hours and assigned one of the dozen double-named children to keep adding wood underneath some stew. I hate that they didn't enjoy Campbell's Cream of Mushroom. 

Okay, see what I mean? I ramble! Don't all teachers do that? Is it bad that I sometimes stop teaching and tell a funny story for no other reason other than that I am bored out of my mind. Is it bad that I lean out my classroom window at practicing marching band members and yell, "Play Rocky Tooooooop!"?

Go band! 

Maybe I ramble because writers ramble. Most writers I talk to say that, when it's time to wrench out a piece of work, they just sit down and start typing. Fast. With no editing-as-you-go or self-critiquing. They just type away. That's what I do. No outline. My outline is the return/enter key. Writers must "let go" and be all ADHD, wild, and loose. Oh, and they must be SPECIFIC.  To illustrate my new theory, "All teachers develop ADHD," I am not going to write about how "All teachers develop ADHD." I am going to procrastinate, deviate, and possible frustrate. Confession: humor is HARD and time-consuming to write. Forgive me if you don’t laugh today. However, if you do need a chuckle, be sure to "like" Theories: Size 12 on Facebook. My freshman class is providing all sorts of gems by way of strange t-shirts and stranger comments, which I post to the Theories: Size 12 page.

I do have something for you, though.

My students are constructing an anthology. In my "Teachers are money hustlers, ya'll" fashion, I have schemed up a money making plan. I'm testing it on my students. Look, I teach in a lab; I'm supposed to test things on my students, but know this: I will NEVER profit from their work. That would be unethical. But, I can learn from them. Seriously, though, it is an academically rich, cross-curricular, comprehensive, Common Core (gag) project that will be awesome/wondrous when it's finished. My students are writing an anthology. They will be published authors! By doing so, they will master every standard in my course and several in English I and Marketing I. Yippee! I've even drafted the collaboration from some ADHD colleagues, Scone-Ad, Red Hot Backspace, Graphic Arts, and Tech Savvy. 

We have over 400 freshmen. Short stories would produce a mountain of paperwork and be impossible to grade, so students are writing poetry for the anthology.

Look! A squirrel!

What were we talking about? Oh, yeah. Anyhoo, I asked students to read and study George Ella Lyon's original "Where I'm From" poem. Lyon is a southern poet and teacher in Kentucky. A fellow author-teacher-hustler!

Note: Teachers, you can hit the internet to find fantastic templates for her poem. Remember the old Mad Lib books? The templates work that way, but word choices are specific and autobiographical, not random.

Like any good educator, I modeled for my students and drafted my own "Where I'm From" poem, which is the meat of today's blog post. I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and readers, if you know of any small creative writing projects my students may enjoy, message me, comment or email me at Thanks! Happy Friday!

Where I’m From
Jody Dyer

I am from hand-tied trout-luring flies and Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, from masculine creativity and feminine, abundant love.

I am from the farmhouse at the end of the holler of The Crippled Beagle Farm.  Slanted floors, a crooked chimney, and frosted paneling bedroom walls in East Tennessee winters.

It felt fragile in build and strong in character.
It tasted like homemade beef jerky, chicken and dumplings, fried okra, and cornbread.
It smelled like hops and barley, fermenting in a one-hundred year old hallway.
It sounded like The University of Georgia’s Larry Munson and grownups talking and popping popcorn. After I went to bed.

I'm from Nellie's puppies. Velvet paws and downy Beagle fur, a rolling pile of wet-nosed innocence.

I am from the cedar forest and Kellum Creek.
From Irises and Tawny Day Lilies.
Pale grape lavender and bright orange, intricately designed, dancing against barn wood, into water, and up steep banks.

I’m from opening presents youngest to oldest, rooting for the SEC, gambling at Thanksgiving.
From interrupters and storytellers. From athletes and educators. From strong opinions and attitudes.

From Donna and Scott and Wimmie and Grandmama Freddy.
I’m from the romantic and respectful, the resolute and resourceful.

From raw intelligence.

I’m from picnicking at Metcalf Bottoms and tubing the Little River.

From, “Always anticipate the incompetence of others,” and “You could never do anything in this world to make us not love you, Bug.”

I’m from the preschool, playground, and baptismal of First Baptist Church on the parkway in Pigeon Forge.
Soulful and sweet.

I’m from Sequoyah Presbyterian Church. Pews filled with academics and grace.

I’m from Columbus, Georgia and Sevier County, Tennessee. Celtic, Scots-Irish, English.

A daughter of Appalachia.

I’m from a Division I athlete who won the Bronze star in World War II and his bride, who rode buses to Atlanta every weekend to dance with soldiers. From a Naval Carpenter long at sea and his bride, a hospital pastry cook who sent him pictures of herself in long, lacy nightgowns because she missed him and wanted him to miss her.

I am my nieces’ Crazy Aunt Jody. 
I am writer Jody Cantrell Dyer. 
I am teacher, Mrs. "Um?"
I am wife Baby. 
I am Mama!

Really, I’m just Bug.


Delicious shelling peas at Grandmama Freddy's deck in Columbus, GA

Pooh and a Rainbow Trout

See you next post. Until then, think outside the barn.

~ ~ ~

Let's talk! Find me and friend me!

Also, visit or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.

Author website:

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Just thinking outside the barn...

Just thinking outside the barn...