8 Things I Am Doing

1. Taking superior care of my physical self.  I’m focusing on upper body strength and cardio vascular endurance. I’m eating clean, avoiding junk food, and absolutely eschewing processed sugar. I’m looking after my teeth. Getting appointments for check ups, eye exams and teeth cleanings for my kids and me. It’s time to be as proactive and intentional as possible with physical health and strength. 2.  Increasing community vigilance. It’s time to be out and about more, not less. I’m prepared more than ever to stand in observation when a person of color is stopped by police. I’m prepared more than…

Guest Post: A Moroccan Summer

In response to one of my posts earlier this month about my health and fitness, my former student Anna reached out to share her recent experience as an exchange student in Morocco. I was fascinated to read her story about the lack of freedom she experienced in day-to-day life as a woman in another country. I invited her to write a guest post to share her story with you. A Moroccan Summer For two months of summer 2016, I lived in Morocco. I was granted the opportunity to study abroad through the organization Project GO, a DOD scholarship program for ROTC…

Why Do You Pray That Way?

I pray with my students at the beginning of every single class. When I worked in public schools, I called it Breathe. Always the same words: Sit up nice and straight and tall, feet flat, rear ends to the backs of your chairs, shoulders back, eyes closed or looking down at your desk. Take a nice deep breath in and out. And another nice deep breath in and out. You are a person of great dignity and worth. The world got better on the day of your birth. There is nobody better than you. And one last deep breath in and…

Rerun: Army Dreamers

Steven, one of my former advisory sons, came by my classroom to visit after school today. He graduated high school four months ago. “I’m thinking of the armed forces,” he said. Steven is an accomplished soccer player and football kicker. He landed some poetic field goals in his football career. I cheered him from the sidelines while he did it. This is a young man on his own. He has no support besides what he can rustle up for himself. School was never Steven’s thing. He hates the thought of going to college. He graduated on time but sitting in…

Big Day of Giving: 916 Ink

Katie McCleary, the writer goddess who is the executive director of the Sacramento organization 916 Ink, talks a lot about giving young people a voice. Here is what 916 Ink is about in their own words: 916 INK seeks to excite young people with language, particularly written language; to instill in children a sense of joy, wisdom, whimsy, and wonder with words; to celebrate syntax; and to support teachers, schools, and libraries in their efforts to share the benefits of reading and writing with all area youth. Check them out here: I want to tell you what I think about…

Work Hard

  I have a saying in my classroom: We work smarter not harder in Wanket World. (My name is Mrs. Wanket at work. I know. I know.)  That doesn’t mean we don’t work hard. It just means we work with purpose and focus on our collective and individual goals. We don’t flail around with busy work. We have goals. We do more in such a way that we get more. More skill, more pages written, more ideas explored. The classroom scene gets me to thinking. . . .I can do so much more in all areas of my life with just a…

One to Watch: Gabriel Pulido

Gabriel wasn’t supposed to be in my junior year American Literature class.  He had been in another class for an entire semester, but he heard from my students that I was “hard.”  I gave tons of writing assignments.  My students told him I was nice, but I “did too much.” I made students work. So Gabriel parked himself in front of the counselor’s office until they changed his schedule. Changing the schedule because you might like another teacher better was not allowed. You can’t really run a high school that way. Students can be fickle.   Gabriel wasn’t fickle. He…