Not Even Close to Caught Up

from Nigel Gibson’s flickr

Every April (just in case it wasn’t clear how far behind I still am…) Ralph Fletcher shares some of his poems for Poetry Month. This one has long been one of my favorites.

I teach in a huge school district. Huge. We have about 190,000 students. So we also have a lot of teachers. Sometimes I don’t realize someone I read online is actually in my district. This was true for a while about Katie Eustis. She’s another (like Christie Nold) white person helping me see how to better do the work of serving all kids and working against systemic racism. In this piece she’s reflecting on how she got started on that path.

When I think about the work that POC do everyday to bring white people to this work, and how without them, I wouldn’t be here, it truly breaks my heart. They are expending so much emotional energy (TRAUMA)  justifying why their lives matter, why what’s happening in communities of color isn’t because of “poor life choices” but systemic issues that really have left people with not many choices for how to survive, and how completely fed up they are with white moderates who claim colorblindness and that all a person has to do in this life is “be nice.”

More on the systemic issues are in this piece from Sherri Spelic. In it she reflects on reading Inequality in the Promised Land: Race, Resources, and Suburban Schooling.

Lewis-McCoy talks about “concerted cultivation” of children that commonly happens in White middle class families. He describes the ways in which those same families throw their political weight around by being particularly vocal in making demands on school officials to insure the best resources and opportunities for their own children by resisting efforts that specifically seek to address racial disparities in both opportunities and outcomes.

On a completely different note, if you enjoy photography you should be following Tom Woodward because he shares the most amazing photos. (He also shares lots of strategies in coding that I don’t understand at all but read just for the fabulous footnotes.)

This piece, from Scott McLeod, struck me for a couple of reasons. One, it begins to get at something that frequently irritates me in education, which is how often we think we are giving students choice but it is really so limited as to be almost nonexistent. He also addresses something that struck me with my own daughters. I can remember a conversation we had about what to do when feeling stressed or frustrated at school and we brainstormed strategies. Unfortunately, most of the things they would want to do to calm down (take a walk, listen to music, do some writing) would not be an option in a classroom. They wouldn’t be able to just get up and go do one of those things if they felt they needed to. I’m taking the punchline of Scott’s piece and sharing it, but I can’t help it. It’s perfect. The piece is short and definitely worth a read.

Want to know who has true agency in a school? See who has the ability to say no.

As I’m still going back to pieces from April, here’s another one about poetry. Kevin Hodgson writes poems regularly throughout the month of April. Bud Hunt shares images each day to prompt writing from others. This is a poem Kevin wrote after seeing one of the images Bud shared. Not only do I love the poem, but I love the online collaboration (one in Massachusetts and one in Colorado).

I’ve said before that one of my favorite blogs is One Good Thing. Rebecka Peterson writes most regularly there and I wish my own daughters could have her as a teacher. This post beautifully captures why I feel that way.

One reply

  1. Scott McLeod says:

    Thanks for sharing my blog post, Jen. Good luck with your own daughters (and with the issue more generally). Until we’re ready to give up some control… 🙁

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