Things that Made my Brain Explode – November 2, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-02 at 10.53.39 AMArticles and news stories are constantly pushing me to consider something new, broaden my perspective, or change the way I look at an issue. My husband likes to joke that my brain explodes with something new on a daily basis. These articles – and the brain explosions that result from them – are so beneficial for me that I wanted to create a place where I could share them, in case you might want to read them, too. Learn more about Things that Made My Brain Explode – and see past posts – here

Here’s a recent batch of Things that Made my Brain Explode:

  • This wasn’t the easiest week to be a human being. After the massacre at a Squirrel Hill synagogue on Saturday, October 28th, I got unusually personal about my relationship with anti-Semitism. I’ve begun the attempt to educate myself by learning more about anti-Semitism, from its ancient roots to its current resurgence in modern America, and I know that it’s going to be a long, difficult journey. I’m working on putting together a list of resources that have been helpful for me, to share with others and start a conversation. In the meantime, this article, from August 2017, put almost all of my feelings, fears, and realities into words.
  • Many of the suggested books about anti-Semitism have been too much for me to handle, but I’ve been successful in slowly working my way through articles. These resources from The Daily, a podcast from the New York Times, were helpful: The Re-emergence of American Anti-Semitism. Just a warning: Although they’re short, I found these extremely intense and difficult to get through.
  • On a related note, this is Judiasm: ‘I’m Dr. Cohen’: The powerful humanity of the Jewish hospital staff that treated Robert Bowers. This doctor, a member of the Tree of Life synagogue and friend of nine of the people murdered that day, ensured the best quality care for the alleged terrorist. “We’re here to take care of sick people,” Cohen, who is a member of the congregation where the massacre happened, said. “We’re not here to judge you. […] We’re here to take care of people that need our help.”
  • The Silent Cry – A heart-wrenching article from a talented STAB alum. He gathered with his family for his brother’s Bar Mitzvah in Virginia at the same moments that the synagogue massacre occurred in Pittsburgh. Having grown up in synagogues myself, his story of searching for an emergency exit before he can pray brought tears to my eyes.
  • November 6th is election day. Thinking about skipping out on voting because you’re frustrated? Consider this a digital slap in the face.
  • Studies have shown for a long time that LGBTQIA students are more likely to miss school, suffer from depression, or commit suicide. These same studies show that many, many of these students feel that they have no safe space or ally at school. In this week’s article 5 Ways to Make Classrooms More Inclusive, NPR provides easy ways to make sure that you are that ally, providing that safe space. These changes can save the life of a child that you may not even know is suffering. (I ordered a rainbow flag for our library as soon as I finished reading.)
  • I understand that I’m writing for future leaders. Honestly, in some ways, I’ve given up on our current leaders, and so I try to focus on these kids because I feel like they’re going to be the ones to right the wrongs. Some of them are way more aware of the world beyond them, they have more empathy, and they have more concern than so many adults. So I’m going to keep writing for them as long as I can to show them how amazing they are, and to hopefully empower them so that they will be the ones to write the wrongs of the past.Angie Thomas writes for teens because she wants them to change the world. I knew I liked you, Angie Thomas. This one includes a peek at the cover of her upcoming novel, On the Come Up!
  • So many lovely friends and members of the school community sent me this article this week: 12 Authors Write about the Libraries They Love. It gave me a warm, gooey feeling each time. New life goal: be the librarian in one of these love stories.
  • Last year, a beloved student I had taught in pre-school died from complications of the flu, just before his 5th birthday. His mother posted this: “Please please…our son won’t be celebrating Halloween or Christmas this year because of complications from the flu. The life you may be saving may not be your own. And it’s not just about the one who dies. It is about all their families and friends whose lives will never be the same.” Alongside her plea was this article. (The story has now gone viral – here it is on CNN.)
  • Ask any teacher about their side hustle, and they’ll tell you what they do to make ends meet in the few hours each day that they’re outside of their second home at school. According to this article from the New York Times, 16% of teachers have second jobs to make ends meet: The Second Shift: What Teachers are Doing to Pay Their Bills. This may be true for formal second jobs, but almost 100% of the teachers I know have at least one extra project going on to bring in cash (myself included), so that reported 16% feels very low.
  • After hearing “It’s a pity you dont have a white character,” during production, the crew working on To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (the young adult novel that has become a virally adored Netflix series) went full steam ahead with a purposefully diverse cast. This year for Halloween, Asian-Americans everywhere are showing their thanks, and Rachel Chu, the author who plays Laura Jean, is here for it: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Costumes Make Jenny Han Cry – In a Good Way.
  • In March 2019, author and artist Jarrett Krosoczka will be coming to St. Anne’s-Belfield School as the Youth Headliner for the Virginia Festival of the Book. Want to know more about him? Don’t miss Meet National Book Award Finalist Jarrett J. Krosoczka, from Literary Hub.

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