Year 14: Back to “normal” isn’t a thing

A few weeks ago, on the last day of school, I dragged a suitcase to graduation. I had a wedding the next day on the East Coast but I couldn’t miss graduation – my first class of seniors, all of whom I knew since 9th grade, many of them students whose families I had gotten unusually close to during a pandemic, some of them even my students since elementary at my former school. Just before watching all those grown up young faces adjust their tassels and beam at their families, I glimpsed headlines about Roe vs. Wade being overturned, casting long shadows over the day. One of many difficult things about educating right now is that preparing students for the future can feel sometimes like helping Icarus add wax to his wings.

This year was my fourteenth as an educator and my fourth in one school. So far that has been the maximum amount of time I have spent at one school, and at a high school, it was my first chance to see students complete their entire trajectory at one school. This fourteenth year was probably the most difficult, which I would not have imagined was possible if you asked me last year, with one foot still halfway in Zoomlandia. This year we were back in the school building, and back to “normal,” but nothing felt normal. A pandemic was still raging* and every single human in the building was processing some kind of grief, but we were stuffed into 2019’s schedules and expectations. My director did leave us a lot of grace (and we completely got rid of our dress code, which was huge!) but we all struggled to find our way back to “normal.” My greatest disappointment is that we did not collectively use the pandemic as an opportunity to completely reimagine education. I think that is because the people on the front lines (and who were most impacted by the pandemic) still do not have a voice in big picture policy decisions… and we still, still will not adequately fund education, even after seeing how heavily we lean on schools to provide a myriad of social services. As a result, significant changes could only happen in individual classrooms or schools, and for many educators, the biggest significant change possible was to leave their jobs for sake of self-preservation. I don’t want to leave, but I am certainly looking for a life preserver… and I was certainly drowning this year.

At the beginning of the year I wrote down big picture goals for this year:

*Another goal not written here but very large in my mind this year was “Don’t get COVID”… and as of this moment, I haven’t. After over two years of frequent tests, vaccines, boosters, masking up indoors, and despite countless exposures and several national and international trips, I know that beyond my own precautions I am incredibly lucky.

Staying human-centered: Relationships first.

Coming back after distance learning, I saw how much the connections I had with students and families helped pull us all through that weird landscape of distance learning. I tried to be really intentional about centering relationships with students, families, and staff this year. I suspected that it would be the key to a weird year, and it really was. Coming back to the school building was such a transition for all of us, and I saw a lot of students really overwhelmed just by being back in a building with everyone. There are so many students who would come check in at my office during every single break between classes, maybe because they wanted snacks but more likely because the crowded commons are a lot of noise and interaction, especially after over a year of being at home. I tried to make my office a warm and productive space for individuals and small groups to work in, and I think that was successful.

Those connections with students were also the heaviest part of this year. I don’t ever remember this quantity of heavy, heavy things: sexual assault, generational trauma, self-harm, and grief by the bucketful. I often found myself feeling totally out of my depth and wishing I had more mental health training. This year was a reminder that we cannot and should not try to separate academics from the humans we are working with.

One of my favorite parts of this year (and the last few years) – reading Octavia Butler with students.

Slowing down. Reflecting. Doing fewer things better.

Revisiting this goal made me laugh briefly, because I always feel like I am doing too many things (because I am doing too many things.) I always resolve to slow down, and then look back on a year that I accelerated through. However, this school year I was intentional about stepping back from a lot of commitments. I backed off from the electoral politics and activism I have been involved in for the last few years, to focus only on navigating what I knew would be a difficult school year. I took a pause on some extracurricular opportunities.

Yes, I involved the local snails in a union campaign.

The one extracurricular but very connected effort I left space for was our brand new union. After being involved with the initial organizing committee, I was elected an officer and have been involved in getting us through our first school year as a union. I’m glad I left space because this took up a lot of time – it was a busy year. We had our first elections, formed a bargaining platform, and began negotiations for our first union contract. There were a few other side quests, like addressing wage theft and helping our classified staff unionize as well. Labor organizing has been a big reminder of how much of my life is consumed by being an educator – trying to squeeze things in off school time is hard because sometimes it feels like it is all school time, and there were weeks where I was working on union business every night and weekend. Being part of the current labor renaissance feels like one of the most rewarding and impactful things I have done with my life, and I don’t have any regrets. It has, however, increased my sense of disillusionment about this profession I love so much.

Despite my deliberate steps toward my goal of balance, it still wasn’t quite enough. I reached what felt like breaking points multiple times, including trips to the hospital. I know that I can’t continue at this pace, even if it was intentionally slowed down from what it could have been.

A student gave me this holiday card and it made me feel really seen. My job involves a lot of hats and most of them aren’t always visible.

Finding ways to measure impact.

Finding ways to measure impact is an ongoing goal for me, in a role that isn’t very clearly defined and that changes a lot. Measuring my students’ English proficiency and reclassification is technically the main measure of my job – the rest is harder to define. There are a few things that do feel measurable this year. Of my graduating seniors, every single one got into more than one 4 year college. It was my first year as the testing coordinator at my school, and we exceeded our targets for testing completion. (This did not feel possible to me in the midst of things, with so many COVID absences and testing sessions interrupted by power outages and a threat.)

One of the energizing things about labor organizing is that successful organizing can have such visible, immediate results. Since last school year, both certificated and classified staff at my school have successfully organized unions, and has led to concrete things – like colleagues getting paychecks, and turning out hundreds of people to board meetings, and ending at-will employment. We are very close to our first union contract. That feels huge.

Other things feel impactful but less easily measurable – a student discovering how much she loves to write. Students heading off to college to become educators themselves. Encouraging connections between some of my students (a junior and a freshman who happened to work in the same space with me during the same periods, and now are gym buddies.) Other things feel heavy & unforgettable without being measures. (There is no rubric for helping a child write their parent’s eulogy.)

In a new class with not a lot of measurable success, we did all get addicted to Wordle together… even students who didn’t want to admit they were into it.

Trying to find stability, after fourteen nail-bitten Springs

I have worked exclusively in charter schools with at-will contracts, and always in roles that can be seen as less than essential, depending on administrative whims: teaching a foreign language, and supporting students who are learning English. I have seen changes in administration completely change my job, and in some cases have had my entire program cut by people who have not spent a single minute in my classroom. I am constantly trying to find ways to self-assess and self-reflect, because often there is little to no structure in place for my superiors to evaluate my effectiveness. I have waited until May or June to find out if I even have a job the following year, or how much I will be paid. This year, the week before the end of school, I saw my colleagues get their contracts and after a flurry of texts realized I was the only one without a contract – only to find out the next day that it was sent to another teacher with a similar email address. As a visible union leader, I knew it was very unlikely that I would be fired, but that didn’t necessarily help while I was hyperventilating in my car.

Even after getting a contract, I was told at a meeting right at the beginning of Summer break that for next year I will be assigned to two schools instead of one. (I realized too late that in drafting proposals for our first union contract, the only position we did not propose caseload caps for was my own role.) This was a shock and I am feeling very apprehensive about what next year will look like. I really loved being full-time at one school and really getting to know students, families, and staff, and those relationships felt essential to the academic support I was coordinating and providing. I am hoping to get more clarity on which things will be taken off my plate with this new split role, but I do know from experience that the depth of relationships will be lessened, and that’s one thing that felt joyful to me in this incredibly hard year in particular. It is hard to be facing a year where I will be less effective, more burned out, and less joyful.

The thing is, I always want to be in a role long-term, and then it feels like my feet are swept out from under me when it turns out to be temporary. I am interested in the long game – building sustainable programs, cultivating relationships with the humans I work with, and seeing incremental change accumulate over time. As a starry-eyed new teacher, I did not examine the structures I was climbing into. I wanted to teach students Spanish, and took on roles where the frequency of classes, the number of different grade levels, and the amount of prep time (or lack thereof) meant that proficiency was impossible. I watched job descriptions add on more and more tasks and higher numbers of students but failed to add the necessary hours to the day (or numbers to a salary.) I heard administrators talk about how their school was like a family and how relationships matter, and then signed contracts that guaranteed that I could be fired for any reason or no reason, with or without notice.

Now I am watching an exodus of educators, both locally and nationally. The big picture plan seems to be to populate schools with idealistic new teachers ready to be martyrs and prepared to flail their way through a few years, and then welcome in the next fresh crop when they burn out. I’ve flailed my way through fourteen years now, and I don’t want to leave education… but I also don’t want to keep flailing. I don’t want to wonder every single year what the next year will be. I know a lot of amazing teachers who don’t want to leave education or don’t want to leave the classroom, but simply can’t afford (financially, emotionally, physically) to stay.

I cannot fix systemic failings with my own lack of boundaries.

I am trying to figure out what next year will look like for me, but I do know that I can’t burn myself out trying to fill in the many gaps in our educational systems. This is something that I am going to try to keep at the forefront of my mind. Many people have told me “It’s just a job!” and I don’t think that’s me, either – I want a job that is more than a job and that I care deeply about. I know myself, and I don’t want something to simply clock in and clock out of. The tricky part is always walking that line between caring about something and disappearing into it… and finding an environment where dedication is appreciated but not exploited. That’s what I want to work on going forward. That means making sure I have a role where I can be part of the big picture conversations and where I can work toward systemic change (like through labor organizing!) but also not accepting any more roles that are designed to rely on burnout. It hopefully will mean pushing back on policies that are made purely based on budget and not on student support… and hopefully not being fired for that. It will mean having things written into a contract instead of just hoped for.

A breath, before whatever is next.

I don’t know exactly what year 15 will look like for me. I certainly don’t feel ready for it yet. I left myself as much unfilled time as possible this summer break, hoping to see friends and garden and raise chickens and be a little bit domestic. Instead, most of the time I’ve spent almost catatonic under blankets. I think that’s what I needed.

This year the monarch butterfly was a recurring motif for me. In December I visited the monarch sanctuary in Michoacán, and this Spring I helped a grieving student plant milkweed and watch a monarch go from chrysalis to monarch. This year more than usual, summer feels like the part of the life cycle where I need to wrap myself up and turn to goo. That’s where I am at… or at whatever metaphoric stage where the goo smushes itself into something capable of writing a rambling reflection on the past year.

Monarchs near El Rosario.

Year 12 & 13: Everything As It Was, Just Louder

I’m into dystopian novels – I know that flashbacks can be exposition. So I could tell you that in January of 2020 several of my 9th grade students burst into my office first thing in the morning, saying that we were all going to die. They had been reading about the spread of the coronavirus in China, and I tried to reassure them with comparisons with the flu. During our daily reading time, I sneezed and they all screamed.

And zooming (eh?) forward, we were all glued to computer screens in our homes. No more reading groups, no more tea, no more lunches with coworkers, just all my students and coworkers reduced to faces or names on a screen. There are still people comparing this to the flu, but I am not one of them.

On the last day before summer break this year, 2021, I was at my students’ outdoor graduation. Fully vaccinated, we hugged each other. We were watching the cases drop & making plans to be back in the building this Fall. I had plane tickets to visit friends and family & attend a funeral. I cried with relief. 

I’ve always tried to end the school year with a reflection – sometimes as students left for the summer, with a classroom still in boxes, sometimes during a mid-summer sufficiently-rested iced-coffee-sipping headspace, and sometimes while diving into the oncoming year. The last two summers didn’t leave space for that – no space left to breathe, and no more breath. Last summer I tried to gather my thoughts, but felt like I was waiting to write until there was something coherent to say. This summer, I still waited for coherence.  I’m still waiting.

Words spent on calls & texts & emails to students & families & activists & voters & elected officials. Drafted statements to boards & quotes for newspapers. Now I’m perched at the edge of a new year without much left to build these last 2 years into something palatable. 

I have to start with a place of gratitude & acknowledgement of how privileged I am.

I am fully vaccinated & did not get sick.

Friends & family got COVID, but no one in my immediate circle of loved ones has died yet.

I worked remotely for the majority of this pandemic, and my husband is working remotely for the foreseeable future.

I was not a classroom teacher. Other than 3 weeks of summer credit recovery, I didn’t have to learn to teach online.

I live with a husband & a roommate so was not totally isolated in strict lockdowns.

I have health care & had access to testing & vaccines. If I had gotten sick, I would have most likely gotten the care I needed.

I saw violence on a screen and not on my body. Even participating in & organizing marches & protests, I was not been pepper sprayed or beaten up by the police.

I do not have children. I did not have to work remotely while managing their remote learning, or weigh the danger of sending them to school.

My employer did not force me to return to work before it was safe. I could make the choices that were best for my health & family.

I was able to speak up – even very publicly critical of leadership – and not lose my job.

I work at a small school & had a strong base of relationships to build on in these impossible times.

My advisory showed up & participated more on Zoom than they did in real life.

Every single one of my English Language Learners showed up for their first day of Zoom school.

My amazing coworkers did everything to make an impossible year possible. Retooled it all in order to teach in a new way. 

We connected with blank screens. We drove food & computers to families. We paid students’ rent. 

We had glimpses of each other’s homes. Met pets & siblings & partners.

Time both sped up & stretched endlessly.

I watched cases bloom across a map. 

I made a thousand different schedules & updated zoom links until I was doing it in my dreams. 

I helped unblock popups in every browser.

I shared a digital rosca with my MEChA students.

In lieu of Christmas in Michigan, I drove to a student’s house to pick up tamales from his family.

My students attended class from living rooms, from bunk beds, from work, from cars, from the family ranch, from hotel rooms.

My students grew in ways that I never had to at their age.

I went in to work with small groups of students in the winter (before vaccines, when hospitals were bursting at the seams) and I had panic attacks every single day.

I talked on the phone more than most years – to strangers & loved ones.

I adopted a dog & dozens of houseplants.

I had a better sleep schedule than I ever have. I also stayed up far too late, watching leaves creep across the walls.

Boundaries blurred a lot this year – I sat in the same chair & looked at the same screen to work with students, to meet my new nieces, to organize Congressional debates, to call and text thousands of voters, to watch the Capitol stormed, to order delivery, to dispatch groceries to others, to organize a union, to scroll through Reddit while watching reality TV.

The weight of this pandemic is too big for this small screen. I have accomplishments, & hopes, & disappointments, & plans. Just not here, & not today.

Starting tomorrow I’ll be back in the school building every day. Vaccine in arm, mask on face, heart in throat.

P.S. – Dang, wordpress did different things to their editing format and I hate it. Forgive any wonky formatting.

Routines Remembered

Bercianos

I’m thinking a lot about routines. There are small things that were part of my life just a few weeks ago that now seem irreparably lost – cups of coffee & chats with strangers, our usual spot in the bar for trivia night, the assortment of people I saw every day: students roaming into my office during break for snacks or conversation, coworkers stopping by to check in about students, vent, or gossip.

I have been at home for approximately 16 days so far, in a weird limbo that isn’t quite free time, isn’t quite a full work schedule. None of this is quite like anything we’ve experienced before. I’m building and rebuilding my routines from scratch. As a teacher with relatively vast expanses of time during summer breaks, I know how necessary structure is – I tend to go bananas after about two days of break and have to make some kind of plan. However, this time there are other complications: a global pandemic, state & federal guidelines changing by the day or even hour, and a new level of exposure to both a constant stream of media and a constant undercurrent of existential dread. I know in order to get through whatever is next I need to intentionally organize my time.

In several ways I feel prepared for this task. For the first 17 years of my life I was homeschooled in a tiny farming town, giving me plenty of practice in handling loneliness & isolation. I also spent several years seriously considering a religious vocation and spending extended visits with various religious orders to discern which was the right fit – some of them cloistered but all adhering to a monastic schedule. Even though I intentionally went in other directions, what I carried with me will help me get through, especially my love of reading & writing.

More recently, last summer I spent 15 days volunteering at an albergue (pilgrim’s hostel) in a tiny town in the North of Spain. I’ve been thinking of those two weeks a lot recently, and the weeks I spent walking the Camino before.

The Camino has its own routines, the most ancient being the act of putting one foot in front of the other, beginning from various points across Europe & ending in Santiago de Compostela. Although the destination has remained the same, it isn’t necessarily the bones of St. James that pull people from all over the world to make the trek. It might be the routine of the walk that draws people, a routine both individual and communal. Getting up early. Bandaging your blisters. Hoisting your pack onto your back. Greeting others with a Buen Camino. Filling water bottles. Getting your pilgrim credential (like a passport) stamped at churches or bars along the way. Washing your clothes at the end of the day.

Ever since walking the Camino in 2012 I knew I wanted to volunteer as a hospitalera – the volunteers who run the donation based accommodations along the Camino. Volunteer hospitaleros are assigned for 15 days in an albergue, changing shifts on the 1st and the 16th of each month. These municipal or parochial albergues, run by towns and churches respectively, which are simple lodgings run by a small fee or a donation from the pilgrims who stay there each night. Many have communal meals. Almost all have bunk beds.

I signed up for a two week commitment last summer, because I knew I had the time off as a teacher and because we were trying to get pregnant, and I figured my free summers might be numbered. Soon after I got my acceptance letter as a hospitalera, I got other news: a diagnosis of uterine cancer. A rapidly scheduled surgery and the wonders of modern medicine meant that I did not have to put my summer plans on hold, although other things in my life were put more permanently on hold. By July I left for Spain physically unscathed (plus five small scars on my abdomen, minus one cancerous uterus) but determined to use that time to process.

Now I can see even more clearly how that time was a gift. I’m self-quarantined, borders are closed, and the Camino has slowed to a trickle as Spain has shut its doors against the virus.  I’m looking at photos and I’m thinking more about those routines, turning them over and over in my mind, and sharing some of those here, if you care to join me. Read more of this post

Cancer Lists

This year I’ve been writing more than usual, even though not much makes its way here. I’ve felt compelled to gather handfuls of things as they slip past, and to tell a variety of stories: stories I can’t tell elsewhere, stories I don’t want to forget, stories that are small but feel big, stories I don’t understand yet.

So I’m going to share a little bit of that here, with you.

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This story starts on a January morning in pre-dawn light, in the middle of another kind of narrative. I was standing in the airport holding a screaming 2 year old, while TSA patted down his mother and his older sister watched quietly. I explained in Spanish to the woman exactly what the agent would do during the search, but my attention was also on the kid I was holding. He had been screaming for most of his time with me, I think mostly at the frightening novelty being put in a car seat for the first time. I was there to guide the family through the airport and onto a plane (also for the first time.) In TSA, I rocked the 2 year old, trying to distract him with the peripheral details – ghostly shapes of luggage gleaming blue on screens, other passengers looking at us. He refused to be consoled, and the hard candy someone gave him fell out of his screaming mouth to stick onto my sweater, where I found it later. Read more of this post

Year Eleven: What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I just wrapped up my 11th year teaching, and this is my 11th pause to look back at the expanse of a school year. I’m in an entirely different place.

In the past, when looking back on the year, I’ve written pages and deleted half of them. I’ve sometimes struggled to sanitize my experiences of working in public education in order to create something for public consumption. Exhausted by the school year still lurking behind me or looming ahead of me, it can be difficult to pick out the positive bits from the year. This is pretty normal, I think, and why teachers have the “summer off” – to recover, and to be able to face the next year. (This is also what the weekend is for, if you are lucky enough to have one.) Over the past decade, I was also looking at job postings every Spring, even when I did not want to leave the school I was at. I was never sure I was getting a contract, or I wasn’t sure what my salary would be and if it could cover my rent and my commute, or I wasn’t sure if I could do another year, or I wanted to keep doing what I was doing but needed a temporary or after-hours job to make ends meet. Again, I think this is a normal part of teaching. Even when we love what we do and want to continue, this is not a profession of stability.

That’s not where I am this year. I’m not looking for jobs. I’m not deleting paragraphs. I’m not bracing myself for next year.

After ten years of teaching Spanish, this was my first year out of the classroom. I started a new role at a new school, as a full time EL Coordinator at a small project-based high school here in San Diego. There were a lot of new things this year, and it’s hard to sum it up here. No day was exactly the same, and was often unpredictable. Teaching has never been a predictable profession, but in hindsight some things were pretty consistent in the classroom: I was with certain people at certain times and certain places, with consistent routines in each situation. This was not the case this year at all.

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My first day of my new job involved some impromptu beekeeping. Like I said – not predictable.

Read more of this post

Ten Years: Doors Closing, Windows Opening

This year marks a decade of reflecting on my teaching. As has been my trend in recent years, I’m reflecting on the past school year after the summer break is over. I spent most of my summer traipsing around Europe and the East Coast, followed by an unusually early beginning to professional development.

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Emblematic of this year: Leaving late, taking the bus. (Not so much the rain.)

On the last Sunday night of summer vacation (that is, the Sunday Nightiest Sunday Night of them all) the oppressive humidity of an early San Diego heat wave didn’t help my insomnia. I lay awake for hours. I had trouble envisioning what the school year would be like, so my brain had trouble fixating on any particulars. For lack of specific anxieties, my mind wandered back over the last ten years of teaching. In the hazy darkness of insomnia it’s not thoughtful reflection or measured analysis that tends to happen, and on this night it was was the faces of students that floated to the surface of my mind. Lots of individual faces… over a thousand now, I think? It was the lost faces that stuck on the surface, as they often do: Students lost because I never found the key to what made them tick. Students who wanted nothing to do with anything I tried to offer. Students lost to inescapable things in their home lives. Students lost to cancer and suicide and house fires and car accidents.

(OKAY. This might be a pretty dark way to start this post. With that said, I am currently in a good place. So bear with me. It gets better.)

Last summer, as usual, I had a list of goals for this year. I worked hard and intentionally on all of them and achieved few, in part because of the unexpected twists and turns this year. Looking back at my plans for long term vertical planning of a TK-12 program makes the past year look pretty bleak from where I’m standing now, since the Spanish program has been cut entirely. (Again, bear with me! Everything is okay!)
Read more of this post

Calendars

A cop, a barista, and a teacher
walk into a coffeeshop on a Friday in June

and for him it’s his Tuesday
and for her it’s her Monday
and for me it’s the Friday of the Mondayest week in my whole career.

(6/8/2018 – Last entry from my red journal)

end of the journal

Mi Noveno Año: Small Victories, Big Dreams

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Estoy de acuerdo.

After nine years of teaching, I am appreciating again the process of reviewing and reflecting at the end of the year, and reading back through almost a decade of reflections on teaching. I like to do this at the beginning of the summer, but over the years the reflection process has crept across my summer… and here I am, writing just before school starts again, during the first week back at school, finishing it up during the first (long!) weekend of the school year.

Wrapping up my 9th year, I reached some milestones: Read more of this post

A Sense Of Place

I write less and take fewer photos here in California than I did in Michigan. Maybe because any energy or time for communication or artistic expression is already monopolized in other parts of my life. Maybe it’s because I don’t need to work as hard to find beauty as I did in those long, grey winters. One sunny afternoon feels like the next, and my sense of time isn’t as rooted in fireflies / changing leaves / numb extremities / slushy roads / crocus buds.

This year I have been teaching a photography club after school. Maybe “teaching” is the wrong word because mostly I’m just handing cameras to kids and leading them rambling explorations. They climb trees, lie on the sidewalk, climb up into trees, and cluster around any available tiny leaves, unique garbage, cute dogs, and interesting patterns.

Their perspectives on the world make me more aware about my own, as I sift through the digital residue of the last few months. I’ve been in San Diego for almost three years – long enough to have routines and connections, but not to outgrow a feeling of being a newcomer. Pulling up roots can be so fast, and regrowing them so slow.

I love reading novels with a strong sense of place, and after 3 years in this place I have more senses than I have fully formed thoughts.

Cloudy May mornings.
Radio telling me about the texture of the ocean.
The bend of pelican wings above me (not quite echoed on my shoulder blade.)
Jacaranda purple pooling on sidewalks.
Palm trees bending and crackling under jet paths.
Smoke creeping over dry hills.

I can recognize the songs of humming birds & the scent of jasmine.
I am waiting for my lemon tree to produce fruit.

Year Eight: Growth vs. Grit

A new home.
Yesterday I lay on the floor of the lunch room at school and surveyed my eight years of teaching from that angle. On a floor or flat on my face can feel like the right perspective for this expanse of time. I remember lying on the floor of my empty apartment, my first year of teaching and my first year of living by myself. I remember sleeping on the floor of my first classroom, trying to gather myself together for a long commute home in the snow. I remember sunnier afternoons in Spain, where two other teachers and I lay out mats on the floor in the music room on during afternoon siestas, for un poquito de relax.

Eight years brings me here to San Diego, where we finished our two weeks of teacher prep with an hour of yoga together. Stretching and moving and lying still among a big group of my coworkers was good. For some reason I think it helped get me into an emotional place where I can actually reflect on my school year, which I try to do each summer. Maybe the equivalent of mental stretching.

As a not-new-anymore teacher, I keep checking my pulse: Am I growing or am I just surviving? The end of last year was hard because I didn’t know if I was doing either. It was an exhausting year, and the exhausted end of the year is not the best place to recognize growth. In the midst of growing pains is also not the best place to recognize growth, and there were a lot of growing pains (both as a school and as a teacher.)

And now… I’m here, and I’ve grown. So here I am with some wordy lists and some listy words (because that’s just me.) Read more of this post

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