“Oh, dear. Bread and beer. If I were rich, I wouldn’t be here.” My grandma used to singsong this jingle when I was little. I would eagerly ask her where she would be. She was always quick to lock her fingers in mine and return a reminder that we could go wherever I wanted.
Now that I’m older, I’ve started to think on this again. Where would I be? What would I do? How would I answer her question? My greatest wish would be to spend one more day with her. But if I can’t do that, the least I could do is come up with an answer to her question. Continue reading “If I Were Rich, Where Would I Be?”
Education is messy. Like any system, nothing in our public schools is simple. While it’s really easy to point the blame at teachers, school boards, and the government, the problems run deeper than that. Yesterday, it came to light that a school in Pennsylvania had enacted a controversial practice of trying to recoup the money families hadn’t paid towards their children’s hot lunches. A firestorm of comments broke out across social media. A handful of people* defended the district’s idea, but the general public seemed to be outraged.
But like all things in life, things aren’t always how they seem. When I did a search on Twitter at 6:30 PM, only one person actually tweeted at the school district. Their Facebook page didn’t reveal much either. People opined all over the news yet none of them suggested the one thing that might actually fix the problem: speak up to the school. Continue reading “Outside the Echo Chamber”
To the people who say not to make your work your passion*, you’re right. Your approach is far more strategic and systematic. You will reach financial independence much faster pursuing a six-figure career than I will figuring out why teenagers are still tempted to cover their arms in glue whenever we create posters. You will also garner far more esteem in the media, on social media, from your friends, and at family parties. You, my friend, are an innovator. A disrupter. Someone who will push your field to the precipice, help pivot a struggling enterprise, or create the newest technology.
I don’t do what you do.
I couldn’t do what you do.
I’m also not sure I’d want to. Continue reading “My Passion is My Work”
“You only work nine months out of the year.” “You get the entire summer off.” There’s a lot of misinformation floating around the universe in terms of what teachers do during their time off. So, I thought maybe I’d set the record straight, at least partially.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any vacations planned. In fact, we’re dashing off to Vegas for a few short days right before summer school starts. Costa Rica is also on the horizon. In addition to travel, I’ll spend countless hours preparing for next school year. In the past, I’ve never clocked the hours, but this summer, I think I will. In addition to traveling and lesson planning, a big chunk of my summer will be spent hustling. Continue reading “How I’m Hustling This Summer”
When I walked into work on a Friday halfway through my first year of teaching, I was smiling from ear to ear. The day before, I had my summative evaluation and my boss checked the recommended for rehire box. We shook hands and took turns signing on the dotted line.
I set down my bag and scrawled the day’s agenda on the board while I waited for my desktop computer–oh, 2009, how I don’t miss you–to boot up. After clicking the Microsoft Outlook icon and letting out an exasperated sigh while my inbox populated, I looked around my classroom. It was a dream come true. I had been one of my only friends to land a teaching job right of out college in the midst of one of the biggest job shortages in education history. In fact, after I accepted my job, my principal let me know that they had received over 800 applications for a single teaching spot. It was meant to be. Continue reading “That Time I Got Fired…Twice”
Last week, it was the Democratic sound bite heard round the Internet – or at least, my private Facebook feed: “When you’re white, you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Bernie Sanders’ comment on institutional racism and systemic poverty eviscerated the fantasy enshrouding many of my friends.
“I grew up poor.” “What about my loans?” “I’m still broke!” “That’s racist!” The number of people who felt the need to defend themselves and their privilege, the number of people who tried to wage a contest of suffering was baffling. Yet, I knew that if his comment had this kind of a ripple effect on social media, there was one thing I had to do: talk to my students about it. Continue reading ““You Don’t Know What It’s Like to be Poor””
In the middle of the week, I received the most exciting–and irritating–voicemail ever. Well, maybe not ever, but I can’t really remember all the way back to my middle school crank phone call days*. After thirty-six seconds, a tinny voice disconnected, and I realized that I had finally heard my first IRS scam. That’s right, the unicorn of phone calls, the pinnacle of scams is now indelibly recorded on my smartphone.
For those of you who haven’t discovered the white whale of scams, the voicemail plays as such: “The reason that this call is to inform you that the IRS is filing lawsuit against you. To get more information about this case file, please call immediately on our department number 360-810-6225. I repeat 360-810-6225. Thank you.” Mine was then followed by eleven seconds of static-riddled silence. And yes, the missing words are courtesy of the caller, not my poor keyboarding skills.
The fact that these phone calls are still so pervasive is maddening. Robo-callers using MagicJack phones and similar technology that is far beyond my ken** to prey on unsuspecting people is vile. Because I had previously heard of this scam from a family friend, my pulse never spiked, my palms never broke a sweat. But I can’t say the same for everyone else. Continue reading “No, The IRS Isn’t Actually Calling”