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An Open Letter to Mark Barnes

Dear Mr. Barnes,


You are a bully. I know that in your recent blog post, you equated Doug Robertson to “the popular student” who gets others to yell without thinking about intent, but sir, that’s you. You have nearly 10 times the followers as Doug, and yet you continue to insist that you, head of a publishing company and former administrator, and Danny Steele, a principal, again with twice as many followers as Doug, are the outsiders in this situation. That you two are personally being attacked by a “poisonous” leader of a “mob” of thoughtless lemmings.



I take exception to this in many ways, but first, let’s explore why I italicized followers. Because, Mark, that’s what you see people as. You look at this number on social media and see yourself as a leader and all of us as followers. I don’t follow Doug Robertson, I am his friend. I’m lucky enough to know him and his family in real life: we’ve eaten meals together, I’ve played with his kids, and stayed in his spare room. He’s a generous …
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What I learned from an active shooter drill

Today, after yet another school shooting, my school did its scheduled active shooter training. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things that I learned from the day.

1. I "missed my calling in law enforcement."
According to the police officers who were there, I missed out not going into law enforcement. I'm guessing that part of this is that I'm obscenely calm under pressure. Another part is my sheer size - I'm an intimidating person. And I'll be the third part is that I'm (and I'm quoting here) "a stone-cold, no-nonsense bitch." I hate that the statement makes me sound like The Trunchbull and that I don't have any feelings or love for kids, but today, in a drill, I made the police chief, who I know socially, slide his badge under the door before I'd let him unlock it, and I was fully ready to kneecap him if he came in the room without doing so. I'm not bragging or saying that's right, I'm just saying it for co…

When "love" isn't in your job description...

Every time I open up Blogger to write something, I'm confronted by this huge number of people who read my last post.

And every single time, I close the tab as fast as I can.

I don't want to see that number. Which is crazy, since, I mean, I write things so that people will read them. But it's so much pressure. Too much. These readers - they, well, they want something from me. Part of me is stubborn and says, "I'll write when I damn well feel like it." Part of me is desperate, itching to write about so many things. And part of me is scared - what if they don't like it...what if they think I'm a hack...what if they say awful things about me...what if...?

But then then yesterday, I saw a tweet:
Love isn't just what Teachers DO. Love is who Teachers ARE. There is nothing Students can do to cause Teachers to love them LESS and there is nothing Students can do to make Teachers love them MORE! #education#edchat — тσм ℓσυ∂ (@loudlearning) April 28, 2018

A List That Actually Matters

I sort of wanted to give this post a cutesy title, like "My Edu-Valentines," but I'm incredibly serious about this. Yesterday, two of my favorite people on the planet, people I like and admire, were included in an exceedingly disappointing list of inspirational educators. (excuse me, "educationists.") They were both livid.

As they should have been.

The list was lily white and lacking women. Most of the people were not actually teachers - which you know, makes them a lot less inspirational to those of us who spend our days surrounded with the bright future of the world. AND THEN, after being called out for the poor quality of the list, the author - who is not a teacher, but a "blogger and digital marketing biz" person and moderator of #GuruChats - about branding (of which I have many thoughts) - asked for suggestions to improve it.

Okay, the first one is do your homework, don't run an algorithm.

But then I took a couple of moments to scribble some …

Word of the Year

I've been doing this word of the year thing for practically ever - like, *adjusts glasses and ironic t-shirt* since before it was the Thing to do. So I was thinking of a word for 2018, and the one that my brain and gut hit me with was "fortitude."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. What am I trying to tell myself about 2018? Courage in pain or adversity? Effing GRIT?

No, thanks. I had enough of that in 2017, thank you very much.

And come to think of it, the last few words have been so similar: Intrepid. Sovereign. Catalyst. It's like I'm trying to hold up my badass-osity like a shield. Protect me from the world, plucky personality! Keep away! I'm a Strong Female Character! I climb mountains and publish books and I don't need you.

Eep.

Those are all true statements. I am those things. But maybe this year, the word to focus on should be softer. Should melt. Be snuggly. I wear this carapace and feel my squishy feelings inside. I don't hide from them, but maybe I hide the…

The Silence in My Mind is Deafening

Write until something comes out starts making sense just put the  words on the page
I'm enraged because I can't they won't come so reluctant like I used them for my gain pinned them down made them tame
Seeking fame, but I'm not -  the mere thought makes me shake shiver people proud and reading? I'd maybe rather die bleeding blood not ink
Never once did I think the words wouldn't come
Numb.
Shock.
Writer's block.
____
Want the book that stole all my words (for now)? Buy it at bit.ly/EdArson 

That time it was right to be wrong

Last night I had a discussion on Twitter which - as is often the case - led to some reflection.

Travel with me in my Way-Back Machine - we're going to college.

Specifically to my Philosophies of Music Education class (Which, spoiler, was the only music class I ever received a C in. More on that later.) - I'm sure, if you're a teacher you had a Philosophy of Ed class - I had to take that one too - so you know that the purpose of a class like this is to study different schools of thought on pedagogy and student learning to help you develop your own ideas of what teachers do.



As I'm sure you can imagine, I was a very opinionated student in this class. My instructor didn't much care for me and my ideas, and honestly, that feeling was mutual. He was of the thought that music instruction was a privilege and that the most talented students deserved the most attention. Now, before you clutch your pearls about this, I want you to know that among performance majors, this is …