By the time that this blog post ends up on the Radical, I hope I’ll be wrapped up on the couch staring at the Christmas tree with my 18-month old daughter, who has fallen in love with Ho-Ho and presents. I don’t take too many breaks, but I figure that she’s a good enough reason to put new content on pause, don’t you?
I wanted to have something for you to read, though, so I decided to put together a list of five old-school Radical posts that resonate with me. Some are reminders of the reasons that I teach. Others are honest expressions of my emotions, clear explanations of practices that matter to me or my attempts to wrestle with challenging questions facing education.
They’re posts you may have missed because I wrote them forever ago, but I’m proud of all of them—and I hope they’ll give you a look deeper inside who I am as a practitioner and a thinker.
With deep appreciation for your continued interest in my work,
Five Great Radical Reads You May Have Missed
Post #1: They Still Dream
“Just listening to the hope in Johnny’s voice was a reminder to me. You see, sometimes I forget that every one of the kids that I teach have the same kinds of dreams in their hearts. Some want to be gymnasts, soccer stars, or grid-iron heroes. Others want to be writers, doctors or lawyers. I’ve had future veterinarians in my room sitting next to microbiologists, rappers, deejays and dancers.”
Post #2: They’re Learning from Me
“When my boys—-who are probably the most physically talented and genuinely kind-hearted team I’ve ever coached—-found out, they were equal parts heartbroken and furious. They’d had their minds set on an undefeated season and a conference title, but with this “loss,” it will be difficult at best for us to make it to the championship game.
“Why won’t they play us, Coach! They must be scared that we’re going to kill them. That AD is a jerk. Otherwise he’d reschedule in a second.”
Tough situation, right? I mean, I’m the jerk.”
Post #3: Hail in a Handbasket
“Comments from media specialists poured in for about 72 hours—on my blog, in the Twitterverse, in personal conversations and in countless emails that landed in my inbox. Many were thoughtful. Others were wholly inappropriate and hateful. The most shocking—which came in an email on Sunday afternoon—went a little something like this:
Are you kidding me? You really believe that you know as much as your media specialist? How can you possibly introduce students to novels as well as we can? What do you know about information literacy? We do this for a living, you idiot.”
Post #4: Living a Silent War
“Maggie’s words left me speechless—and wondering how long she’ll remain in the classroom. Her spirit is positive and she approaches her work with a zeal that defines many of those who work with students of poverty, but will zeal be enough to keep her going day after day in the face of almost insurmountable challenges?”
“But this year’s end of grade testing was different. I’m not sure why, but halfway through Wednesday’s reading exam, I found myself quietly crying. You see, I was looking out over a classroom of kids that I know as beautifully complex creatures.
They’re inquisitive and curious, embracing challenging questions about the inherent justice and injustice in the world. They’ve wrestled with the idea of standing up to power and tried to explain the origins of hate. They’ve had their thinking challenged and challenged the thinking of others time and again over the past 180 days…
But in the end, none of that “growth” will matter.”