Things that Made My Brain Explode – November 10, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-11-10 at 2.50.21 PMArticles 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:

  • “I was not a racist person. I was a progressive liberal who always voted Democrat and never said the ‘N word.’ Why did I need to sit through these sessions, especially when I had so much other work to do? If we wanted to stop race being a factor in our society, why did we keep insisting on talking about it? In short, I felt what most White people feel when they have to talk about their place in America’s racial narrative…” It Doensn’t Just Happen at Starbucks. Teachers Need Racial Bias Training, Too.One teacher’s powerful experience with confronting his own bias. Understanding your biases and role in systems of racial oppression isn’t easy, but it’s necessary – I know that I personally still have a lot of work to do. The day they announce racial bias training for teachers, I’ll be first in line.
  • From the same author, a piece titled I’m a White Male Teacher Teaching Black Kids and We Need to Talk About That. This piece tells the story of my first few years teaching, and it made me feel both ashamed and determined to continue bettering myself.
  • I loved the piece about Jarrett Krosoczka so much, from last week, that I went bingeing on National Book Award finalist profiles. I loved this piece about Elizabeth Acevedo, author of The Poet X, one of the best books I’ve read this year.
  • “Worries over a new digital divide are rising. It could happen that the children of poorer and middle-class parents will be raised by screens, while the children of Silicon Valley’s elite will be going back to wooden toys and the luxury of human interaction.” Another fascinating article from the New York Times: The Digital Gap Between Rich Kids and Poor Kids is Not What We Expected.
  • Teachers are supposed to see and solve everything, but it. Is. So. Hard. As a specialist, I see 500 students a week and have to cover a week’s worth of lesson in 45-60 minutes. This piece from Responsive Classroom, Bullying We Don’t See, is a reminder that stopping for those “Wait, did that really just happen?” moments isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it.
  • Evanston Principal Sends Letter to Parents Addressing ‘Hate Filled Language’ Toward Minority Students. Children across the country are testing out the behavior and vocabulary that they’re seeing around them. This makes it an incredibly difficult and stressful time to be an educator – but also a critical one. Kudos to this principal for sending out a call to action that I’m sure was not universally popular. As educators, the way we respond to hate in our classrooms and hallways can have a huge impact. Honestly, the responsibility and pressure (and constant, constant vigilance) of that is daunting – but I know it’s for a good reason.
  • “These are parts of our cultures or our identities that we were told were wrong, and we were told not to be proud of. We were told to hide and conform. And to see folks that don’t have to conform use those aspects of our identity and make it popular, or make fun of it? That’s just wrong.” Teen Vogue goes beyond the popular internet term “cultural appropriation” to humanize what people of minority groups really feel when you slip on that mass-produced costume at Halloween in My Culture is Not a Costume. Way to go, Teen Vogue. I wish this had been around when I was a teen.
  • “Do not discount the everyday acts of resistance. The Grand Canyon was made not by some theatrical explosion but by the time and tide of erosion, a consistent, persistent chipping away of rock. What forces on earth are more powerful than water, than the rivers and seas? And what feeds those rivers and seas but steady drops of rain? Every drop is needed.” Libba Bray, uber-talented author of books like A Great and Terrible Beauty, takes on the feeling of powerlessness in dark moments. After Pittsburgh.
  • Roughly half of American school children have experienced at least some form of trauma… […] but there is a dearth of research, understanding, or acknowledgement of how it affects educators.Secondary Traumatic Stress for Educators is a very real thing. I believe that this has a lot to do with why teachers burn out so quickly, and why we’re facing a national teacher shortage.
  • “When the name of the place you hold dear suddenly becomes synonymous with tragedy, the emotional impact can be searing and the aftereffects can linger for months, years, even generations. […] Unsurprisingly, there’s a term for this: metonymy, or using a word as a stand-in for what it represents.” Naming Disaster: When Home becomes Shorthand for Heartbreak. I’m from Pittsburgh, I spent many years living in Squirrel Hill, and I now call Charlottesville my home. I know that it will take me a long time to work through what that means.

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