Holy mother of raisins*.
The past four days have been crazy. Crazy good, crazy-exciting, and a little crazy-scary.
On Wednesday, I finally decided to publish a post about what it’s really like teaching in a high-needs school. I’ve been working on this post for months, but the sentiments and frustrations go back much longer. I was
afraid to post it for so many reasons. I was afraid I would be alone. I was
afraid of retaliation. I was afraid people would misunderstand or misinterpret what I was trying to say, which is maybe the most important thing I’ve ever had to say. When I pressed the “publish” button on Blogger, I immediately went home and downed a glass of water/baking soda mixture because of the acid reflux dragon that had crawled into my gut.
But I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the response I’ve received from teachers and non-teachers alike. Overwhelmed in a positive way by the love and support from people across the world, and overwhelmed in a
crushing way by the realization of how broken our system is and how not
uncommon my situation is.
Before I say anything else: THANK YOU. Thank you for hearing me and responding with kindness. I’ve received so many emails, comments, tweets and I wish more than anything that I had the Time-Turner from Harry Potter so that I could respond to every single one as thoughtfully as they were written to me. But until I find a way to bend time, just know that I have read every single one, and that your support is so encouraging to me. I mean encourage in the way that Brene Brown talks about—how “courage” comes from cor, the Latin word for “heart.” You have spoken something important right into my heart.
Here is just a sample of the responses I’ve heard. First, this excellent state representative from Oregon:
This incredibly awesome teacher-to-be whose comment made me cry so hard I had to blow my nose:
I got an email from a teacher in North Carolina who shared my link with her superintendent. She then shared his response with me:
“Thanks for sharing this blog with me. I really appreciate it. I have read it multiple times this morning. It has encouraged me to continue to work on solutions to the issues raised in the blog for as long as I am in my position. Indeed, I plan to use this blog for conversations with my leadership team and advisory councils over the next few months. Perhaps new strategies will emerge. Finally, please feel free to have this teacher contact me, as I would like to speak with this teacher directly. Thanks again.”
Also, Valerie Strauss at TheWashington Post picked up my story (which is really a story that belongs to many of us):
While these kinds of responses are incredible and awesome and encouraging, I’m writing to let you know that I’m not done yet. Not nearly.
But I will need your help.
Flood your senators, state representatives, superintendents,
and anyone else you can think of with Tweets, Facebook posts, emails, and
letters. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your story, share mine. It is a story that belongs to way too many of us.
Have conversations with non-teacher friends and people in your community about the realities of teaching in high-needs schools.
Emphasize why this is so important to you, and always tie it back to your love of your students and of teaching.
I’m going to be doing some heavy-duty reading up on policy. I’m going to be talking with people who know much more about policy than I do
and learning from them. I’m going to be drinking lots and lots of coffee. Stay tuned and stay hopeful!
(In the meantime, if you could help me think of an awesome
education revolution hashtag, I’d be much obliged.)
*I had Raisinets for lunch. They were on my mind.