The #WalkUp Myth

I was such a misfit in junior high that I wondered if I existed. Nobody hit me at school, but rather I was invisible. On a seventh grade ski trip, I was lost for hours and literally nobody noticed. I could have died buried in a snowdrift and I wouldn’t have been missed until my parents noticed me not coming off the bus at the end of the week. You’re never going to hear from me that the pain of not belonging doesn’t have long-term consequences on a person. Part of why I became a teacher was to seek redemption…

Kids These Days Feel Entitled

High school teacher here, if you didn’t already know. So I know what I’m talking about when I say kids these days feel entitled. They feel entitled in ways those of us coming up in the seventies, eighties, and nineties did not. Kids these days feel soooooooooo entitled. I didn’t feel as entitled as they do when I was their age. My generation rolled with the punches and didn’t make waves. We worked hard and hoped for the best. This bent towards working hard and making do is a hallmark of so-called Generation X. We’re proud of it. Kids these…

What Goes Through This Teacher’s Mind When You Say “Walk Out.”

How will I protect my students who have noncustodial parents with restraining orders? How will I protect my students on the spectrum who are extremely upset by changes in routine and lack of supervision? How will I protect my students who have substance abuse issues and who may use the unsupervised opportunity to make poor decisions? How will I recover the lost learning time of an entire day? What will happen to the families with parents who have jobs that do not allow them time off for civil disobedience? What will happen to the students for whom the school building…

I’m giving up giving advice for Lent

I’m giving up giving advice for Lent starting now, I announced to my class yesterday. I’m also giving up sharing my opinions, especially at work but also in general. My students were appalled. How are you going to not share your opinions? How are you going to not give advice? That’s basically your whole job, Mrs. Wanket. Giving us advice. Telling us your opinions. You’ve just proven to me that I am correct in my chosen Lenten sacrifice, I said. One girl protested. What if someone asks for your advice? Even more reason to keep my mouth shut. Okay, but…

Discipline

Last year I attended a meeting of a book club to discuss my novel The Ghost Daughter. In my quest to make a good impression on the elegant women of the club, I ironed my pants and wore a smart jacket. I even brushed my hair. As I perched on the couch waiting for the meeting to begin, one of the ladies came in. She wanted to know if I was the author. I proclaimed myself. Huh, she said. From the way you write, I thought you’d show up in leather and spikes. She wasn’t buying my ironed white pants…

6 Steps To Being A Writer While Working Full Time

Step One: Go Away  Close your screen right now and write 500 words. I’ll wait. We will all wait. Step Two: Steal Hello again. Stop talking about “carving” out time to write. The reason why you haven’t been successful is because you are mistaken about the nature of time. Time isn’t something to carve. It isn’t butter. It’s a precious biscuit that wants you to steal it. Become a thief of time. Your malnourished writing life needs time more than your never ending list of well-fed busy tasks do. Steal from the rich to give to the poor. Step Three: Honor…

The Graceful Art of Subtraction

My youngest daughter and I visited my friends over the summer while they did a house sit in LA. My daughter was most impressed by the fact that Warner Brothers was shooting a television show next door and using the lawn of the house we were in to stage equipment. I was impressed with the house owners’ fork and knife and spoon drawer. The homeowners were committed minimalists. Every item in their house was beautiful, useful, and had a place. In the utensil drawer, there was no mosh pit of metal and plastic and crumbs. Everything was uniform and serene…

Not All Men

This is not about workplace harassment. This is not about the man who felt up my bare knee under the table during a meeting at work. This is not about the time he sat on me at another meeting, giggling as he crushed me with his body. Neither is this about the time I blocked a colleague I hardly knew on social media after he sent me suggestive messages and a picture. I ignored his dozens of notifications until finally he flipped out and sent a series of vicious emails berating me for, among other things, my bad online etiquette….

Yolo

For Homecoming Prayer Service 2017 There’s a saying, I know you’ve heard it. YOLO. You Only Live Once. Let me tell you something about YOLO. YOLO is a lie. You don’t only live once. You live every time you wake up in the morning. You live a new day 365 times a year, if you’re lucky, every day a new chance for a new beginning, a new way to think of others before yourself, and a new way to be kind. A new way to live the spirit of Jesus Christ, and be a source of God’s love to others….

To My White Sisters: So. The Tina Fey Thing.

To my White progressive sisters who read my blog sometimes: We’ve had some space and time to think. Tina Fey’s sheetcake bit. We need to talk. I didn’t write this right away because you were very raw at the time of my Twitter and Facebook posts pointing out that Tina Fey’s crack about theoretical White supremacists in Central Park feeling threatened by the sight of “six foot four black men” was harmful in light of what actually had happened to an actual black man at the hands of actual White supremacists in Charlottesville not a week before. The assumption behind…