Why Zebras Don’t Get Sunday-Night Teacher Stomach Cramps

grayscale photo of zebra
Photo by Jean
van der Meulen
on Pexels.com

I’m in the middle of reading Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. It’s a book about stress written by my behavioral-scientist crush, Robert Sapolsky.

For a long time, I didn’t think I needed to read this book. It seemed like the main takeaway was obvious from the title itself: Zebras live only in the present moment. Their stress levels are based on whether they’re running away from a lion.

They don’t worry about bills.

They don’t ruminate over last week’s misunderstanding with another zebra.

They don’t get teacher anxiety dreams because they just noticed Target has started selling school supplies.

And. . . that kind of is what the book is about. But the details have been worth diving into. And there are many takeaways that will be helpful to teachers on Sunday nights—or during August, which can sometimes feel like a month full of Sunday nights.


Recognizing Sunk Costs in Teaching

Erased blackboard

One of the business concepts that felt like a huge revelation when I learned it was the idea of “sunk costs.” 

When something has already cost us a lot of money, time, or effort, we’re reluctant to walk away from what we’ve put in.

And so: we’re more likely to continue to spend money, time, or effort on this same thing in the future.

There are lots of names for this when it’s working well: Dedication. Persistence. Commitment.


Teaching Students to Write a Good Email in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (and Revising Lesson Plans for AI)

Computer covered with sticky notes

My first How-to-Write an Email lesson plan from a place of grouchy tough love.

A decade of teaching high school English overlapped with thousands of book-related pitch emails: Please read my work. Please help me sell my book to a publisher. Please let me come on your show or podcast and talk about my work. Please, Mr. or Ms. Intern, pass this email on to your boss and don’t just immediately delete it.

Each email had to be just personal enough, just professional enough. It needed enough detail without running too long. The mechanics had to be perfect.


A 3-Part Micro-Challenge for Educators Who are Nervous about A.I.

Road with lightning in the distance

In all honesty, it took me a while to get here myself. 

At the time I’m writing this—early April, 2023—I’ve spent about two months stockpiling articles and podcasts to help me learn more about A.I. These materials ranged from enthusiastic to to apocalyptic, from dismissive to practical.

In fact, there was only one thing they all had in common: I was avoiding them.