About Me


near Devil Track River, MN
Winter 2013

My name is Steve Peterson. I teach 5th grade in a small town in rural Iowa. I came to teaching rather late in life; I started teaching when I was in my early 40s. Before teaching public school I worked as a crisis interventionist for kids with severe behavior disabilities in a public school; as a tutor on a couple Native American reservations; as a part-time writing, history, and government teacher at the college and community college level; as a labor union organizer; in various stints as a janitor and factory worker; and as a cook in a couple different restaurants.

I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College and Clarke College (B.As, biology and, later, elementary ed.), and the University of Northern Iowa (M.A. in Literacy Education). I never graduated the Ph.D. program in American history at the University of MN, but I got a long ways into it before the lure of teaching and making pottery (and my inability to focus) pried me loose from that life some time ago.

Contact: steve.sleepingdog at gmail dot com

Inside the dog…
The blog’s name comes from a quote attributed to the great Groucho Marx: “Outside a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.”

On a surface level, I like the quote because I like dogs, books, and ideas. I also like surprise and word play. Groucho makes me chuckle.

On a deeper level, sometimes life “inside the dog” of a classroom, with its hustle and bustle, DOES make it too hard to think. I’m hoping this blog will be like a reading lamp for me, and maybe for you.

5 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Pingback: Cracking Open the Word Craft | To Make a Prairie

  2. Hi Steve!! I had posted a comment on Vicki V.’s blog asked for…. Help. We will be required to use basal this year. She suggested that you may have some suggestions on how to survive this. Thanks. I think we even chatted along this topic a few years ago. Hope to hear from you.

    • Hi Sherry! I was wondering how you were doing in that brave new world of basal reading series. I would love to chat with you. Your situation sounds very difficult. I am not sure I have any answers, but I do have a lot of sympathy! Drop me a line, if you feel up to it and we can start the conversation. My email is on the upper right side of this page.

      Best to you!

  3. Hi,
    I have nominated you for The Very Inspirational Blogger Award as I enjoy reading what you have to say about education. You have a lot to inspire other teachers and their students.
    You can check out the post in which I made the nomination here: http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-iM
    If you wish to pay the compliment forward, go to this post for the rules of participation: http://wp.me/p3O5Jj-hI
    Best wishes,

    • Hi Norah!
      Thank you so much for the nomination! I’ve been out of internet touch for awhile so just came upon your comment, and now I have also had the pleasure of reading some of your blog posts and your writing, too! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

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