My book is being readied for publication and I need your input. What you care to share should be sent to bettyclemens@ Memories from staff or parents. Updates from and on students would all be appreciated. Those ten years are emotionally ingrained on my brain, but details sometimes escape through my ears. 🙂 Help me get the facts straight and I’ll mention you in my acknowledgements. The Barry Academy was not a one woman show. I’d really like to give credit where credit is due. It took a lot of talent, sacrifice, and love to make that small school work and I really need to know how our students made it in the world. Thanks!

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School Safety Agent

School is next step from family and neighborhood. The adolescent’s arc of discovery, according to renowned psychiatrist Lynn E. Ponton, requires the need for risk-taking, not the comfort of family. Yet the new role for police stationed in Knoxville schools has been described as “keeping students in family”. So when do they grow up? In college?

We all wear labels, but our search, as individuals, is to remove that label and show the world who we are inside. Then, the struggle begins in a labeled society that says, “You can’t”. More parenting with external control.

If we can’t resolve those issues in school, they will lead to violence or self destruction, according to Dr Ponton’s assessment. She describes the teens’ search for identity as their attraction to risk, based upon her case studies of real cases. The lesson to be learned is to have your voice heard and to move on when you can’t. If parents have not taught that lesson, the teachers must. Police represent protection, not coddling.

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THE ASBESTOS CEILING: Forty Shades of Failure. Yours, Mine, and Public Education

A Daddy’s Girl and a Mama’s Boy move into a new culture simply seeking an independent, suburban lifestyle. Political resistance follows her into the classroom and him into his work environment, as they learn that failure comes in multiple forms. Together, they become crisis managers in both education and business. The reader is invited to share and learn through their story of innocent intervention.

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According to my husband there are three kinds of good. Good, no good, and good for nothing. I have known all three. Teachers who were unfair in their grading system. Teachers who prejudged. And teachers who tried hard but were overlooked or feared. If you are a teacher, which category do you fit? If you are a student, or have been, what images do you conjure up from your experience? if you are a parent, tell me your story. We all have them.

I remember the high school chemistry teacher whose attempt to teach the ability of sodium to ignite with a drop of water emptied the classroom with an explosion. She had inadvertently placed the jar of sodium under the dripping faucet.

And the math instructor whose daily class began with a lollypop division problem and ended with a chalkboard filled with more problems to be solved for homework.

Or the seventh grade male teachers who ignored a student openly masturbating in the classroom, rather than seeking help for the student.

We have all been there and lucky to survive. But, surely, with the billions spent on education these days, none of these could happen today? Stay tuned for more stories and add yours to the list… BC

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Been there, done that, your turn

Life is made up of academics, experiences, and longevity. Plan wisely, never stop learning, and share with others.

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Hello world!

Educators come and go, but learning stays with us forever. I write this for the thousands of past students and clients who worked with me through classroom teaching, goal setting, and positive planning. The teachers in the trenches, who get lost in the shuffle for federal funding. The principals, whose creativity is wasted, once they leave the classroom. The parents, who are not sufficiently informed to ask the right questions for their children. And the superintendents, who use the power of their office to fund a bureaucratic dynasty. These are personal lifetime lessons I learned in my quest for academic truths. As some have commented in my 47 year professional pursuit, it is “The world, according to Betty Clemens”.

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