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Leadership and Activism, School Stories

To Hope, New Teachers, and Re-awakenings

Originally posted at

Request: I’d like to send the teachers in my care your way to learn like I did.

I started this blog a little more than two years ago to voice what I was experiencing in my classroom and the systems I had worked in and was working in at the time. I didn’t know where to start, I just needed a place to shout from. After shouting for awhile a few folks started shouting back. Finally one of them ( invited me to come shout with a group of other shouters ( and the rest of the tumblr education group). This made a tremendous difference in my life as a teacher – and a person, and on and on. Connecting to you expanded my increasingly myopic view. Stress, burnout, and cynicism from teaching in less than perfect communities and systems had narrowed my view and weakened my soul. I felt like I was done.

As many do, I left the public school system with the hope of untangling my experience/s and hopefully opening up some new possibilities for others. The future is, of course, unclear. I sorely missed teaching face-to-face. Interacting with my students, fellow teachers and being a part of the communities I served. It was disillusioning. I had jumped from one isolating system to what seemed like another. I was wrong – about both institutions (being wrong is a skill that is cultivated with age and humility I suppose).

My path crossed with former students over the holiday as I travelled to visit family and friends. One was a student from the very first class I taught. The other was from my most recent public school teaching experience. The first was such a surprise. I didn’t know if I’d ever reconnect with that group of kids. S is now a few years into college and is doing marvelously. I’m so happy. D is also doing well. He’s in a new school in a new district (I started educatedtodeath while in his former district) and is thriving – “killing it,” he said. I told them both that I was about to start teaching soon to be teachers, and that I was nervous about it. I asked D, “Where do I start? I know the content, but what do I teach?” He replied, “Just be honest like you were with us. You had bad days and good days. We did too. But you were always straight with us.” Where did this 10th grader get so much wisdom? Brilliant. So I’ll have a go at that.

I’m coming back to this blog as a new teacher. A teacher of teachers. They are marvelous people with such hope in their eyes that I can’t help but start seeing a bit of that same spark in my own when I glance in the mirror. They all have lives that are on hold – electricians, geologists, scientists, camp counselors, missionaries, athletes, musicians, coaches, students, and on and on – as they are working to become teachers. They can’t wait to get their own classrooms. I’m looking back and they’re looking forward. We’re going to learn quite a bit together.

I’m teaching them about literacy in the content areas, and I’m hoping to facilitate this through blogging and other social media outlets. In other words, I’m sending them to you, the way I went, to learn from masters – I’ll put my two bits in along the way as well. The network I built changed me tremendously. My voice and experience is just that, mine. We need each other. I thank you for your support, and ask that you will join in support for these brilliant minds. Thank you and cheers.


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