I love teaching Introduction to Creative Writing. It’s a wonderful triathlon: We start with fiction, then move on to poetry, and lastly we write stories from our lives. And I do my best to persuade students to abandon their hastily selected majors and join the writing program so they can help us uphold our time-honored tradition of disobeying our parents.
But this semester, something’s gone wrong.
I, a man who is more like Peter Pan than a man, have become the parent, and the students are my disobedient children.
How did this happen?
How is it possible that the lost…
Let me get this out of the way: I didn’t want to go back.
I didn’t want to return to in-person school for myriad reasons, but the first few are what I consider “personal.” I have asthma and suffer from ear, nose, and throat allergies year-round. I am partnered to a Black man who is much more likely to receive substandard medical care and, as a result, takes more precautions around social distancing and limits time outside the house.
I would not only be exposing myself to a classroom full of children (and by default their parents, their grandparents, and…
I have always had a hard time with both and neither. It’s either on or off. We’re friends or we’re not. I love it or I don’t. I’m all in or completely out.
I don’t know how to have acquaintances. People are friends, hope-to-be friends, or I-feel-bad-we’re-not-closer friends. But not everyone wants or needs to be close. There are levels, mountains, spheres, or something like that. Or so they tell me.
I think this way of living in sum totals comes from a childhood split in half.
My parents parted ways when I was four years old, and I have…
Sitting in circle with me are 36 other human beings, a new cohort of facilitation students. I have been creating, designing, and facilitating learning spaces for 20 years, and now I’m learning how to teach university students to do the same.
We are embarking on a two-semester journey to learn what it means to run meetings, hold events, and give workshops using participatory processes—processes that allow people to reflect, share ideas, and create possibilities together, rather than be talked at.
At the end of the initial session, I asked a light question: “What are you taking away from this first…
These words came out of my mouth several times this week.
“I wish I didn’t want to be a teacher.”
This weekend, I went to a brunch with one of my favorite momma friends and a couple of her employees. She is a wonderful boss of a wonderful company, and sitting around a table eating tartlets and fancy poached eggs and drinking bottomless mimosas, I thought, I wish I didn’t want to be a teacher. Because if I didn’t want to be a teacher, I would want to work here. I would want to sleep in past six…
Code Red Drills. As educators, we’ve all been through them. They have always been an eerie part of our routine. After all, high schools aren’t supposed to be that dark. They aren’t supposed to be that quiet.
I remember the drills as being thought-provoking inconveniences. What if an armed intruder came into my second home and threatened my life and the lives of my students? How long will this drill take before I can get class rolling again?
The most uncomfortable part of those drills was squishing 27 high schoolers into a corner, and the alarming door knob…