Friday, August 11, 2006


My very first job as a teacher, I worked for a principal who had given me a paddling 12 years before. I kept hoping that he didn't remember me, but I can't imagine that he could have forgotten. I had received corporal punishment from him on more than one occasion.

When I was a student, I was not the best kid in class. I wasn't BAD, but I was definitely not the teacher's pet.

The reason I bring this up is because of a fun e-mail I got recently from the director of Library Services in a Texas School district. He saw my school assembly program and wanted to share it with all the schools in his district. He passed on the word of my program to some of the school officials and they all wanted more information.

So he e-mailed me asking me to send him some promotional materials to share with everyone. He included this fun line and the right to attribute it to him…

"This guy is such a showman that I'm sure he was a thorn in the side of many teachers"
--Steve Neal

Okay Steve. So you're more right than you probably knew.

However, I'm making up for it now. I spend my life educating children all over the country and inspiring them to read more, learn more, and become more. I motivate them to explore the learning process through self-directed learning, reading books on any subject they love and care about.

It might not make up for the underground newspaper I published my junior year ("The Harlequin", I got three issues out before being shut down by "the man"), nor does it reverse the fact that I organized a walk-out of our Political Science class. I had no good reason for the walk-out, other than we had been discussing them in class and it seemed like a fun thing to try. When the teacher left to get some coffee, I saw the opportunity and I grabbed it.

These things are done-and-over long ago. But I'm still paying retribution and making good on my debt to educators everywhere. And I intend to continue to do so.

--Julian Franklin

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