Blue Cereal Celebration: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
There's nothing sadder than not talking about me anymore.
I mean, we can still TALK about me. Often. In glowing terms. But the week devoted specifically TO that purpose is rapidly drawing to a close.
But it's not over yet. So hit me baby, one more time. (Situations like this are pretty much what that song is about, right? In my naive youthful innocence I can never be sure.)
I started this week of Blue Cereal Celebration with my 10 Most Viewed Posts/Pages - to great internal accolades, I must say. I'd like to finish with my Top 5 Personal Favorite Posts Not Already On Some Other List This WeekTM. (If this becomes a new thing with the other edu-bloggers, remember that you saw it here first. It's freakin' brilliant, if you ask me.)
I'm certain it goes without saying that they're some of your favorites, too.
My 300 Epiphany (8/10/14) - Teaching can be a noble profession and all that. I mean, we don’t do it for the money or the glory or the clarity of expectations from above. We do it because on some naïve, idealistic, melodramatic level, we want to change the world.
But I don't think of it that way anymore. I have found great freedom and comfort, actually – and I share this without cynicism or sarcasm – in the fact that I’m pretty sure we’re going to lose. Those who are with us are far, far fewer than those who are against us, and whether you use Common Core math or give up and figure it the old way, we are totally and completely screwed.
But it is a good day to teach.
The Gettysburg Address: Parts I, II, and III (4/14/15+) - Before I committed to focus on Oklahoma politics and legislation during 2016, I loved writing history-related posts. While they didn't prompt the most views or comments, the responses I did receive were some of the most thoughtful and gratifying.
That's partly my own briilliance and style, but mostly because I have the smartest, sexiest, most thinkiest readers in the universe.
This little trilogy on Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address" came out particularly well. It's also sparked some great email conversations with other teachers. Maybe now it will spark a few more.
I'd Rather Be Aquaman (9/25/14) - Written during one of the 'Does AP U.S. History Glorify America Enough?' crises, this post is about the choices every history teacher, and textbook, and movie, and curriculum-writer, has to make. It's also about allowing real live dead people the same humanity and complexity we find so compelling in fictional characters.
I particularly liked this line: "We can’t narrow the gap between young people and American ideals by doing a better job bullsh*tting them."
Don't tell Jay, He missed this one first time 'round.
A Little Knowledge, Parts I, II, and III (2/21/15+) - Another trilogy - this one about secession, the power of education, and rewriting history to fit our manipulative needs.
Of course you know how history teachers are - when we talk about the past, we're usually trying to analyze the present. If only there were contemporary situations in which we told one another agreed-upon lies about history and fought enlightenment in others in order to better marginalize and mistreat entire classes of people. Perhaps a current example of some sort will eventually come to mind...
I'm SO deep!
Liberty, Parts I & II (6/1/15+) - A pair dedicated to a topic we spend MUCH time on in my American Government classes...
Most Americans are big fans of "liberty", just like we love to talk about "justice" and "opportunity" and "heroes" and "high expectations." The difficulty comes when we try to clarify just what those words mean in practice.
That's when it sometimes gets ugly.
Does "liberty" simply mean a lack of overt constraints, or does it suggest actual agency and opportunity? What are the limits and necessary supports for liberty - especially the kind that's supposed to with "justice for all"?
And that's... that's it for the week of Celebration.
Now - Let's Talk About The Way Forward and the Brand New, Classroom-Ready, TLE-Proof, BCE #11FF Pedagogy Protection 5"x7" High Quality Magnetized Magnet...
How It Works
Administration observing you? New teachers sitting in on your classroom? Parents concerned about a lesson you taught or a strategy you used, or even a grade you gave their little boo-boo?
Just point to the magnet and nod - slowly, but confidently. You pass, all 4's, discussion over, thanks for coming.
Looking for a new gig somewhere they hate teachers less? Or simply trying to persuade your local legislator that you're not a complete idiot standing alongside the highway of life with a 'Will Teach for Food' sign?
Point to the magnet.
Students challenging your classroom management? Whining about the subject matter or all that thinking you're making them do? Maybe your principal is trying to interrupt your class for another $#%& assembly?
You're gonna want one of these. You're gonna want it bad.
Two Ways To Get It
(1) Push any Blue Cereal post or content page by Tweeting it or sharing on Facebook. Comment or frame it in some way so it seems personalized, not randomly selected and widget-sent.
Sell it with your eyes, baby - sell it with the eyes.
Make sure you tag me or use #11FF or otherwise let me know - my intentions are pure, but my brain is old and my attention span unreliable.
(2) Enlighten others about #OKElections16 - The resources on this website AND in general. Talk to your co-workers, meet with your department, and calmly, rationally explain some of the issues impacting #OklaEd this year and EVERY legislative session. Encourage them to GET INVOLVED.
Better yet, ask your building principal for 5 minutes at the next faculty meeting to encourage co-workers to get informed and start voting in state primaries this June. Suggest their spouses or other family members run for office themselves - I'll help raise the $200 filing fee if need be. Offer to help them GET INVOLVED.
As long as you're not telling people who to vote for, there's not even gray area in encouraging teachers to learn more and do more about the issues which impact them and their students.
Oh, and don't be all wild and frustrated like me - do that calm, wise thing you do so well.
It takes verve to do this, and some of you will start uncomfortable conversations different than those you'd intended. THAT'S OK - you got this. It's even OK if you don't know every detail about every bill or every legislator.
This isn't about what we already know and have already done - it's about what we're willing to learn and how much we're willing to do.
Then, let me know. Email or DM me with your story (short or long - I'm curious, but I know you're busy). I'll send you a couple of the BCE Magnets as token thanks and acknowledgement that you're awesome and Totally Forever #11FF. If you'd like extras for co-workers who responded supportively, I'll send more - up to a dozen at a time if you believe it's merited.
I trust you - you're #11FF. You tell me what's appropriate.
If you're not in Oklahoma, but fighting similar battles in your edu-world, that works, too. You just let me know - same offer, modified as YOU see fit.
Know in advance that you amaze me every day, my darlings. I wish I was half the person and a quarter of the teacher most of you can be. Be stubborn but graceful, wise but humble, and keep changing the world.