Blogs by Deborah Appleman

Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Saying Goodbye to Grandma in Chains

Eddie comes up to me after the midterm and says he too is afraid that he hadn’t done as well as he should have. Eddie is a tutor, a sweet and serious man in his late twenties, who works with other inmates to help them earn a GED. “You see, my grandma died this week,”

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

George Floyd Through the Eyes of a Prison Teacher

As I surveyed the cluttered, expanding, and deeply moving memorial site at 38th and Chicago, I tried to see that street corner and the murder of George Floyd and its aftermath through the eyes of the incarcerated men I am privileged to teach at two correction facilities in Minnesota. I knew that many of them

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

The Tragedy of George Floyd’s Death and its Devastating Aftermath

As I consider the tragedy of George Floyd’s death and its devastating aftermath, I keep thinking of the incarcerated writers, many of whom grew up in the Twin Cities and are heartbroken by recent events. Before the pandemic hit, I was scheduled to teach this spring for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop, a remarkable non

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Knowledge is Truly Food for our Souls

Tonight was the first night of a new class, one that I am teaching with John Schmit, an English Professor at Augsburg College. It’s a sociolinguistics class called Language and Power. On this first night it all came flooding back why teaching here seems so important, why it is both exhilarating and devastating, why I

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Blogs
Deborah Appleman

Tony and the Blue Book

Tony is a tough guy. Real tough. For the life of me, I can’t imagine most of my students doing anything violent. They look innocent—young and fresh faced, and actually sweet. No kidding. Tony isn’t one of those guys. He looks mean. His eyes don’t smile, even when his mouth does. His hair is close-cropped,

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