Stuff Mr. Tiefenthaler Says

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Teaching can be a rough job at times, but two kids today surprised me in class with something they’d been working on for a long time. Apparently, all year they wrote down any strange, interesting, or funny quotes I said. They turned it into a PowerPoint and shared it with the class.

I’m an English teacher, and I tend to get carried away telling random stories. (These stories fit well with the Speaking and Listening Standards, so don’t worry you Common Core advocates. The students in my class are getting a well rounded education.) 

I now present the top ten things that I said to my 7th grade English class this year.

10. The only good thing that came out The Great Depression was the term “hobo”.

9. Star Wars: It’s a family drama with light sabers.

8. You have to try demolition derby sledding. Get four friends with four sleds and there’s only one rule. You have to switch sleds in the middle of your ride. It’s awesome.

7. Let your words mingle and dance with each other.

6. I’m going to put my GoPro camera on my Mini Van and go to the drive thru at McDonalds. Extreme!

5. A funny google image search is “fat bears”. Actually, don’t search that.

4. Any cereal that changes the color of your milk to pink is probably unhealthy, but it also is probably amazing.

3. There was a doll for boys when I was a kid. It was called My Buddy! Sing it with me. My buddy, my buddy. My buddy, my buddy. My Buddy and me!

2. I live on a rainbow, and I wear my baby blue pants because those are my happy pants. (I have light blue pants and kids were commenting on them – I had to defend myself)

1. The English language is a hot mess.

Yes, I did say all these things. Some of them I remember why I did, and other’s I’m not quite sure what I was thinking about when I said them.

*** David Tiefenthaler wrote a book, O.K. is Great, and the reviews are in!  ***

“I love this book. It is humorous, but well grounded in reality. The author seems to know and understand well the angst of adolescent boys. If you have enjoyed the wimpy kid books try this one.  It’s funny, witty, has hilarious illustrations, and tells a great story, too.”

*** Pick it up in Paperback, on your Kindle or Nook, on iTunes or at Smashwords.  ***

Hooray for Teachers! (63/365)

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I’m extremely lucky to work with such a nice staff, and I was reminded of this today.  Because I’m getting ready to launch my book sometime in May, I’m trying to establish some contacts to help me for the big release.  I was hoping the teachers at my school could help me out a bit, so I contacted my administrators.  I asked them if I could send out an email to see if other teachers would be interested in helping me out with the book.  This is the email that I sent out to them.

Hello Fellow Teachers,

I’m going to publish my first book later this spring (probably in May).  It’s an illustrated novel.  The target reading audience is EVERYONE!  Actually, it would be best for age 10 and up. 

I’d like to get some feedback on the book before it goes to print. If you’d be willing to help me with this, email me and I’ll contact you with more information.

I was super worried I’d get no responses, and blank stares from my coworkers at our next meeting.


We have to do so many things, that giving up any time at all is a major request.  However, the response was overwhelming.  I think the list of teachers who responded was around 20.  I have to get back to them with what I had in mind, but if you didn’t know already, teachers are extremely busy people.  What I am hoping they can do is be a part of the O.K. Crew.  It’s kind of like J. Crew, but it doesn’t have to do with clothing.  Nevermind.  It’s nothing like J. Crew.

I want to put together a list of 100 people.  I’m going to give these 100 people an advanced copy of the book.  In exchange, they will help promote the book.  That’s about it.  They say the best way to promote a book is word of mouth.  Well, teachers are social creatures.  They like to talk.  I should know.  I’m the founding member of teachers.  Wait.  No.  I’m just a bald guy.

Anywho, I am much more confident about getting the book out there now.  To quote The Beatles, “I get by with a little help from my friends as my guitar gently weeps.”  I think I mixed that one up too.  I’m a little off my game today.

Charles Barkley Loves Teachers (43/365)

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Teaching is tough.  Any time someone says something positive about the craft, it makes me feel a lot better about what I’m doing.  Charles Barkley cheered me up today.

I love watching clips of Jimmy Fallon on YouTube.  I don’t stay up late enough to watch the show when it is aired, but I just watched an interview he did with Charles Barkley, and right away in the interview, Charles Barkley talked about the important jobs in life.  Here’s the transcript, and then the video

JIMMY:  Yeah, you were saying backstage.  You said that there are only five real jobs the world.

CHARLES: Yeah.  Teacher, fireman, police man, doctor, somebody who’s in the armed services.  Everybody else can just shut the hell up and enjoy life, you know.

I appreciate the thought, although, I hope I can still enjoy life and still be a teacher.

Here’s the video.  Barkley goes on about some other things, and it’s quite humorous, but what he said really made me feel good today.

Thank you, Sir Charles!  You made my day.  Share this with any teachers, farmers, police officers, doctors, and armed service members to make their day too!

Different Sentence Types + Figurative Language Story (41/365)

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Last week, I complained like a total wuss about teaching.  It’s not like that usually.  I have fun with my students on most days.  I’ll prove it to you right now.

In my seventh grade English Literature Arts class the other day, I made the students write a 13 sentence mini story by using different types of sentences and figurative language.  I’ll list the sentence types after the story for you teacher folk if you’re interested.  First, here’s what I wrote while the kids were writing.  I always do the activities because I like writing too.  You gotta practice what you preach.  Know what I’m saying!  And to think, I almost threw this gem away without sharing it with the world.


I needed a burrito from Qdoba.  I often talk out loud to myself so I declared, “I need a queso burrito mas rapido!”  I can’t speak Spanish, but I know mas rapido means quickly.  After I shouted my intentions in the middle of the seventh grade math class I have the first hour of the school day, I walked out the door.  My math teacher chased after me, but I was too fast for his crusty old self because I slammed four Red Bulls for breakfast.  The principal, the assistant principal and the secretary tried to stop me from leaving the school too.  They couldn’t catch me as I sprinted out the front doors of school, that oppressive prison.  Don’t question my Qdoba queso burrito obsession.  I stole my math teacher’s mini van and drove as fast as Nascar driver into the city.  I’m a beast on the prowl for delicious burritos.  I can hear the burrito calling out to me, asking me to eat it.  When I arrived in the city, I was madder than a honey badger in a snake pit.  CRACK!  I smashed my fist against the dashboard of the mini van.  It was 7:45 in the morning and Qdoba was closed.


This burrito doesn't look appetizing because I'm a bad artist, but it tastes good in real life!

This burrito doesn’t look appetizing because I’m a bad artist, but it tastes good in real life!

So here’s the sentence types and the figurative language I used, in order of appearance.

SIMPLE – One simple subject (noun) and a predicate.

COMPOUND – Two simple sentences connected by a coordinating conjunction (FANBOYS: For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So)

COMPLEX – A simple sentence with a dependent clause.  The dependent clause has a subordinating conjunction in it. (After, Before, Because, If, Since…)

COMPOUND COMPLEX – A three part sentence with a coordinating conjunction and a subordinating conjunction.

TRIFECTA – A list of three things in a sentence.  I made this one up, but it adds good rhythm in writing.

APPOSITIVE – Also know as a comma sandwich.  Where you add an interrupt to further describe a noun.  Example – Bob, my silly friend, ate paste.

SIMILE – A comparison of two things that are not alike using the words like or as.

METAPHOR – A comparison of two things that are not alike without using the words like or as.

PERSONIFICATION – Giving a non human thing human like qualities.

HYPERBOLE – Big time exaggeration.

ONOMATOPOEIA – Words that sound like the actual word. Examples – Moo, Boom.

Try this with your class, or just try if you want to have fun while writing.  BAM!  I’m out!

Overwhelmed Middle School Teacher/Police Officer (36/365)

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I’m a bit overwhelmed today.  This journal entry is going to be short.

First of all, it is going to be short because I want to use all manner of curse words to describe my feelings about my seventh grade students, in particular a group of boys.  I don’t have nice things to say, so I’m not going to say much at all.

I’m quite depressed about middle school in general right now just because of how ugly this age can be.  They are just so evil at times.  I’m tired of being a police officer.  Don’t do this!  You can’t do that!  Face this way!  Do this work!  Don’t lean in your chair.  Please focus on the lesson.  Start reading.  You can’t be on that website!  You’ve lost your computer privileges!  Why’d you say that?

I just want to teach reading and writing skills.  That’s all I want to do.  I want to be able to sit next to that quiet student in the corner and help them work through the lesson.  I don’t want to circulate around the room of 29 students constantly redirecting those who are off task.  That’s not teaching.  That’s babysitting.

Alright.  I said I wasn’t going to say much, and I’ve probably already said too much.

My second reason for keeping it short (ha!  It’s already a few paragraphs of my whining), is because I have an absolute $%# ton of work to do for school.  I have a formal observation I have to prepare for, and I have to fill out a six page document about the lesson I will be teaching that day.  Yes.  Six pages.  There’s much more I have to do to prepare for that, but I’m tired of complaining.

Here’s a picture of a cat that my daughter drew.  Maybe that will cheer me up.

Don't you think my bow is cute!

Don’t you think a cat with a bow is cute!