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In Person

Leslie Graham

Photo: Roger Jensen

Leslie Graham

Huntsville, Alabama

Roller derby competitor, middle school inclusion teacher

How did you get involved in roller derby?
I ran into a friend who was [in a roller derby] and thought it sounded like fun, so I helped start an organization here. It’s a great bonding experience and very empowering for women.

How did you come up with your derby handle, “C U Afterclass?”
Everyone’s handle is something that tells a little bit more about them or gets to be their alter ego, and that’s mine.

What do your students think of you being in a roller derby league?
Some of them are surprised or shocked. Some of them think it’s bizarre. I have parents, students, and fellow teachers who come to the game and support it and think it’s great. The most interesting thing is when my most quiet students come up to me and tap me on the shoulder at a competition when I never would have expected to see them there.

Ever gotten hurt?

I haven’t had any serious injuries. I had a torn ligament in my knee. I got punched in the nose by one of my teammates by accident once, but that was just a hairline fracture.

What is it like going from the classroom to roller derby practice?

It can be quite relieving. You go through the day and things happen and by the end you may feel stressed out or worn out, but I leave and feel better. I’m able to go back to school the next day refreshed.

Why did you join NEA?

We should have someone to represent and support us. I think staying on top of legislation is important, and there aren’t a lot of organizations that present teachers as professionals.

Ed Bray

Photo: Monica Martin

Ed Bray

Cañon City, Colorado

Fire eater, juggler, high school English teacher

How did you get into fire eating?

I was a juggler and attended the International Jugglers Association Convention in Santa Barbara, California, where they had a workshop on fire eating. I said I’d go home and give it a try.

Ever been burned?

Oh yeah. The most dangerous thing is doing it outside when it’s breezy and the wind blows the fire sideways. I have a beard but I keep it well-trimmed. So far I haven’t had any bad injuries.

Where did you learn how to juggle?

Out of a book. I was trying to teach myself and couldn’t figure it out so I went to the library, checked a book out. Later, I met a professional clown who showed me several tricks.

Ever get your students involved with juggling?

I used to do a unit on reading directions and I’d bring in directions on how to juggle three balls. Some kids actually did learn that way.

How do students react when you eat fire or juggle for them?

I usually try to work it into something we’re doing, like if we read an essay on fire walking and they ask how it works, I’ll give a demonstration.

Why did you join NEA?

It’s important for teachers to stand together on issues that relate to them.

—Erica Addison


Short Takes

Angela Clayton

Timberlake, North Carolina

Angela Clayton

Linda Powell

Before Clayton’s father passed away, she promised she would continue his tradition of composing music. The elementary school teacher has released a CD called “Celestial Moments,” on which she sings and plays the acoustic guitar. A self-taught musician, she recorded it to promote learning through music and movement, and as a way to make lessons and teaching fun. “It relaxes me and relieves stress. My goal is to encourage others to reflect on the past, learn from the present, and have  a successful future.”

—Linda Powell-Jones
NCAE News Bulletin

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  • anc_dyn_linksOctober | November 2009
  • anc_dyn_linksAugust | September 2009
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