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Wishing for Trouble

 I didn't get in trouble today, and that's a problem. The day is young. There's still time. And I'm sure that my parent letter tomorrow will be met with resistance from several readers. But I should have gotten in trouble today. I was already worried yesterday about how to approach yesterday's treasonous insurrection with my students. Like you may know, though I'm in the middle of my career, this is the first time I've been a grade-level teacher with a classroom of students of my own. You also may know that I'm in a very conservative part of a very conservative state - my neighbor, a Guatemalan immigrant, still has his Idahoans for Trump flag flying proudly because he's white. My other neighbor, who is a Vietnamese immigrant also complains about the "immigrants who are stealing our jobs" when I see her at the mailbox. That's where I'm from. There's the context about what America looks like for some of you who might not see how d
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I'm Kind of a Big Deal

I know, I know, it's been FOR-EV-ER. I had to do a piece of reflective writing for a class and it was like all of a sudden, my reflexive writing muscles just started working again. (That's a lie. I had to stop and "rest" and read Twitter many times in the actual creating of this. BUT, I may write more? Soon?) __ Literally seconds after submitting this reflection paper, my apps judge me. This year, it seems wrong to celebrate. There’s so much going on in the wider world that overt joy is almost inappropriate. Couple that with a lack of in-person social interaction, and my biggest Thing this year hardly merits its capital letter. It’s still big news to me, so I’m going to celebrate it here. With you. The day it was announced via email that we wouldn’t be returning to school, we also got the link to the form to nominate Teacher and Classified Staff of the Year. My immediate thought was, “This is ridiculous - we are ALL teacher of the year this year -

Are we there yet?

Oh, Gary. If only you knew... My kids are really  not ready for their band concert today. In fact, for the first time ever, I wanted to cancel a concert. I explained it in a way that I thought would make sense: This is my assessment, and in a grade-level classroom, if students aren't ready for the assessment, you push it back and review. I hoped it would be relatable (and honestly, sound better than, "These kids are really bad at this still and I don't want them to be discouraged/embarrassed/start to hate making music, oh, and this is not the level of performance I want associated with me because I'm a professional musician with standards." Long story short, we're still having a concert today. But here's the rub - because I am a professional musician with standards of performance I hold myself to, and because I want these kids to love making music, no one will know that they're not ready. No one will know that I cried in my classroom when I w

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

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 fo

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) Ap

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 sc