My brain is a hamster on a wheel that never ends.
This causes many unpleasant side effects, including a lifelong struggle with insomnia. I have so many memories of waking up in the middle of the night as a child and staring at various objects in the dark, constructing them into monsters the longer I stayed awake.
When I had kids, everyone told me, “Sleep when the baby sleeps!” Well-intentioned advice, I guess, that didn’t account for someone like me, for whom sleep never came easily.
Then I got a new job, in the middle of a pandemic.
All my life
A constant narrator in my head
I always thought the words
Gave me somewhere to go
When I needed to be
Anywhere but here
But when I was 30
I fell into a story
A girl who loved words
Because they helped her to stay
And so I stay
When maybe I should go
Or maybe the words should go
Because I am not sure
There is enough space
For all of them
The problem is
I’ve picked up so many
They’ve replaced the flint and steel
That once sparked in my veins
In “Accidental Babies” by Damien Rice, there’s a line that asks, “Is he dark enough? Enough to see your light?”
I have spent years hiding from the dark.
I think most people fear the unknown. They don’t want to know what actually lurks in those shadows. What breathes in the navy blue of a crystalline winter night.
I know exactly what stands behind me. I know precisely what writhes beneath the stones I do not lift. I know what is crouching in the corner I will not turn to see.
And I fear it.
But on this darkest evening of…
In one of my favorite books, White Oleander by Janet Fitch, the opening scenes paint a picture of an autumn night in California, the Santa Ana winds blowing in despair.
In Wisconsin, the wind blows hardest when the seasons change.
I don’t know what it’s like to sit on the roof of my house and look at a hazy moon while desert and ocean alike clamor for my attention.
But I do know what it feels like to listen to the wind.
I, for one, have never been afraid of an oncoming storm; rather, I stand outside and watch it…
We’re in a world of right now.
It’s hard to imagine anything beyond the next 10 minutes, much less the next 10 days. Everything feels so urgent. We need to mask up right now. We need to know what’s going on with our schools right now. We need to refresh our timelines and know what tomfoolery is happening in the world of old, white men “leading” our country right now.
Of course, there are things that can’t, and shouldn’t, wait. We need to dismantle the systems that continue to uphold white supremacy. We need to arrest the murderers of Breonna…
I attended the GMWP Summer Institute in 2018. I was ready for something new. I’m a deeply passionate and restless teacher (and person), never quite content with the status quo, constantly looking to do better, and I had found that my other forays into professional development always had just a little something missing.
I found what I was missing in my classroom that summer. It was nothing tangible, no one thing upon which I could place a finger. Instead, it was a quiet voice amidst the chaos of my stormy mind — my identity as a teacher, audible at last…
I’m a white, cis-gender girl from a small Wisconsin town.
I always considered myself pretty “progressive,” but to be honest, I turned a blind eye to the world’s many issues because those things just didn’t seem to happen where I’m from: a predominantly white, rural community that was always a little behind on the times.
I’ll never forget the moment I began to awaken to the reality around me. It was 2005, and I was in a class at my college called Social Problems. Our professor was talking about educational disparities, and I remember feeling smug about my state. We…
This year, I pledged to go gradeless.
Yet November crept up on me, and I found myself entering quarter grades in the gradebook.
So I took a moment to reflect on my journey these past nine weeks.
First off: I was recruited for a standards-based grading pilot group. So that threw a wrench in my plans. Now, instead of immersing myself in strategies and research that would help shift my culture from grades to learning, I found myself researching how to explain the new scale to my students in a way that wasn’t so scary.
So I spent most of…
Happy early days, my friends in education.
I stepped back into my classroom for the 11th year after another summer of learning and growth. I was armed with new ideas, a thicker suit of armor to protect my sensitive empath soul, and, of course, a heart full of unconditional love. I ditched my plans to go over the syllabus on my first day, choosing instead to have students engage in a series of stations to break up the monotony of their day, giving them a chance to move rather than to sit and get.
One of these stations included a…
I am scared of standards-based grading.
I spent a week working with some of the best minds in my district on our new proficiency scale. It was a great week. Our discussions were honest, productive, and, at times, vulnerable.
But I worried we were getting hung up on the wrong things; namely, how our new scale would translate to a traditional gradebook.
I let others worry over crunching numbers, plugging in decimals, sweating over letters that I swear are meaningless. I plugged away at designing assessments and dragging our new proficiency scale around from document to document. I bit my…
Mama. Teacher. Writer. Yogi. Hufflepuff. Wanderer. Empath.