Waiting for symptoms

Because kids didn’t wear masks

Spreading it in school

Now my kid has it

And I’m waiting patiently

Waiting for symptoms

Wondering if I have it

Numbing anxiety

By playing wordle

Everyone is doing it.

Not playing wordle…

Waiting for symptoms

Wondering if they have it

Not able to test.


Freedom…F*#k Yeah!

A list of questions I’ve gotten from children regarding what would happen in the event of an active shooter. All questions have come unprompted.

“If I’m in the bathroom, and you’ve closed the door, will you let me in?”

“What if I’m in the bathroom, but I’m not in your class? Can I come to your class, or do I have to run back to my class?”

“What if I’m in the bathroom, and I hear someone shooting, do I stay in the bathroom?” (I should note, my room is near a bathroom).

“What if the door is locked, but the person breaks the window?”

“Do we hide under the desk?”

“What happens if someone gets to the front desk, and they can’t do an announcement to tell us we are in danger?”

“What if someone pulls a fire drill to get us outside, what then?”

“Who will tell our parents if we get shot?”

“What if we are crying and we can’t stay quiet? Is it our fault if the shooter finds us?”

“What if I’m in the hallway, and I run to a room and it’s locked, what do I do?”

“What if both the stairways have shooters?”

“What if I see the shooter?”

“You’ll protect us, right?”

Ok…So What?

Children can’t vote. They have no power. They can’t lobby for change, they can’t vote for change. However, they live every day with the consequences of decisions that adults make.

They ask questions, unprompted, after every school shooting.

They’ve told me they dream about it.

I’ve dreamt about it too.

We are a country that proposes to value freedom. Yet, we imprison our children with fear for something as simple as going to school.

This is not an epidemic of bullies. It is an epidemic of guns, and access to guns.

Until we value the lives of children, we can not be free.


Saturday Haiku Review

Texas is again

Showing that Conservatives

Are winning the War.

Pretty bold of them

Considering that they can’t

Even keep lights on

Abortion should be

Accessible to women

Healthcare is our right.


Culture of Transaction

I can’t imagine that you don’t know by now, but Biden has called on states to offer a $100 incentive for people who get a covid vaccine. A number of states are offering incentives (you should click that link and check out what Hawaii is doing, it’s amazing), including $100 for getting the first shot.

I want to be clear, I am not against this. Whatever we need to do to get people vaccinated must be done. However, as more states start offering incentives, or start considering incentives to get their residents vaccinated, it has made me think about a few things.

At heart, in the United States we have a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” kind of culture. It’s not “help your community” it’s “help yourself.” I call this Toxic Individuality, and it’s something that’s irked me for a long time, and something I’ve brought up in multiple blog posts.

In America, there’s no reward for community.

I believe that American culture sees no reward in a healthy community. Our culture is extremely transactional on an individual level. “I will do this because it helps me. I will vote this way because it helps me.” Not, “I will do this because it helps the community.”

Even church is a transactional experience. People do good or live by a moral code in exchange for personal spiritual salvation, not necessarily because it’s what is good for the health of the cities our country they live in.

Ok…so what?

Right now our communities, our schools, our churches, and our families are in the middle of a pandemic. That pandemic is not waning or getting easier, rather it is infiltrating more of our country, making us more divisive and angry. The past year and a half has made it very clear that the cult of toxic individuality and our culture of transaction is…well…literally killing us.

What we need is a radical change of thinking. Rather than think, “If I get this vaccine, I will get $100”, we need to think “If I get this vaccine, a child that I have never met and do not know may not end up in the ICU.”

I know, it’s not as glamorous. And I KNOW, the $100 and other incentives are very useful for a lot of people. Again, I am not against them.

But $100 won’t be enough to get us out of the mess we are in. We have to start considering the health of our community as the end game. It is not you against the world, it’s all of us against a virus. That’s killing us, it’s leaving lasting impacts on our economy, our children, our future…it’s time to stop pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps, and instead help out your neighbor. Do it for no reason. Do it anonymously.

The reward is a better future for everyone – not just for the individual.


Teachers…be like Ted Lasso

Actual sign I made for my actual classroom

Hands down the best show on television right now is Ted Lasso. A fun, feel good show about a football (soccer) coach who gets into the minds and hearts of the players. If you haven’t watched it, or want to know more about it, check out here.

I fully believe that watching this show has made me a better teacher. Ted has made me truly think about how I deal with each student and coworker. He’s taught me to value myself and my team, and he’s taught me that even the brightest lights sometimes go through dark times. I really can’t put into words what Ted Lasso has done for my personal life, my career, and…well…my psyche during the pandemic.

I even made a believe sign to hang up in my classroom (see above)

Teachers…be like Ted Lasso.

I am sure that if you are anywhere in the United States you’ve run across a variety of teachers. I’ve already made too many posts about how teachers get the short end of the stick constantly. We aren’t paid well enough, we aren’t funded, we are held to high expectations, we must continually go through trainings, and at the end of the day, society doesn’t love us.

But also…teachers are leaders in the community…like Ted.

Ok…So What?

I’m regretful to say that there are a number of teachers (within my school even) who refuse to vaccinate or wear a mask. I’m also regretful to say that teachers also took drugs made for animals to prevent/cure covid.

Here’s the thing friends, as teachers we are leaders. Our communities may not love us, may not value us, and like Ted – we may be called wankers by our communities. Yet, we should still be thoughtful in our approach to them. We should do the correct research, not facebook research, actual research, when we aren’t sure about something. Like…IDK…if your doctor says you shouldn’t take a drug made for animals then maybe you shouldn’t do it. Your sisters boyfriend doesn’t know better than your doctor, and honestly, as a teacher you should know better than that.

So, you’ve figured where this is headed. I’m positive that if Ted Lasso were living during this pandemic he’d get vaccinated, and still wear a mask. Why? Because it protects his community.

Do the same. Be leaders. Be like Ted. Bravely or stupidly go out into the community and be people that our students, our parents, our co-workers, and our nation can’t help but root for.

And fucking watch Ted Lasso.



Greed is the Reason

Colonialism the

Outcome of the War.

Delta Variant

Is affecting the school kids

But masks are outlawed

Teachers are tired

Nurses are quitting their jobs

Wear a fucking mask.


The Impossible Task

I know that teachers are generally a favorite group for lots of people to hate on. We are either teaching students too much or too little. We are either teaching them to hate America or teaching them far right nationalism. We are either lazy, or too involved. When the pandemic hit, some leading publications posted op-eds that told us to suck it up and get back to work (which I’m still mad about). The list goes on.

I won’t deny that, on paper, a teaching schedule looks amazing. It’s one of the reasons why I chose to get into teaching after grad school. However, like many things, in reality we have almost no time. This has been more apparent than ever in the last two years, with a pandemic nipping at our heels and sapping much needed emotional energy from us.

This year, though, this year is different.

I’ve heard from a number of teachers that the expectations for this year have been piled so high on our shoulders, that they are insurmountable. Additionally, the time we are given to achieve these obstacles is simply, not enough.

Let me explain.

Some of our 7th and 8th graders have not been to school since the pandemic shut us down in March of 2020. That means, the last time some of my 7th graders were in a physical classroom was in the fifth grade. The emotional change that takes place between that time is enormous. Also, some online students essentially disappeared from school for a whole year. So, not only have they not been in the building, they are still reading, writing, and doing math at a 5th grade level.

Except, we are in 7th grade now.

With all the kids back at school, my class periods have been cut. So, now not only am I teaching, I’m trying to “catch them up”, re-socialize them into a school environment, and I have 25 fewer minutes than I had previously. On top of this, my prep has also been cut, and my school requires that I’m present for after school as well.

So, between 8AM and 430PM I have one 40 minute prep to get ready for two separate curriculums (7th and 8th grade) with classes that need a lot of extra help in a lot of different spaces.

Some of these problems are internal. However, I think that the load which has been placed on our shoulders ties into the toxic “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” mentality that comes with being an American. Because, you see, these students do need help. They are behind. It’s a fact.

The problem is, America is not allowing them to be behind.

Like with the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are acting as though a very obvious problem does not exist. As is a trend in America, we are not given the time or resources to achieve an extreme goal that is expected of us. And, not only are we not given support by the public, we’re also trolled by politicians. On top of that, we are now actively putting children at deeper risks in states that have banned mask mandates. So it’s a hell of a time.

Ok…So what?

The bottom line is, it’s time to stop trolling teachers and treat us like professionals. I have six years of education under my belt in history alone. I have another two years worth of teaching classes. That’s eight years. Teachers are professionals, we are experts in what we do – but we are treated as though our time is not valuable, and we are expected to do the impossible, all while our curriculum is fought about in state legislatures.

We also have contracts. Those contracts state specific things, like our working hours and expectations. We are paid based on those contracts, so it is not feasible for an employer, or in this case a country, to ask that we work outside the contract hours because “that’s what good teachers do.”

There’s already a lack of boundaries in teaching. We’ve seen that in the past two years where everyone has an opinion about what teachers should do, what they should teach, how they should teach, and why they aren’t more effective. We’ve seen that at school board meetings, in mask mandates, and in the political climate in the past year.

The bottom line? The pandemic is still here, kids have been affected by it, but not in the ways conservative politicians want you to believe. Students are behind, but it’s not a gap. It’s because of something so far outside of their control that it’s ridiculous to try and control it now.

How do we fix it? Well, hire more teachers or aides so that everyone has time to do what they need. Oh wait..we can’t do that because of funding and a teacher shortage. Second, re-set expectations to account for the pandemic. Oh wait, we can’t do that either because most of our politicians are pretending like the pandemic doesn’t exist anymore. Third, pay us more and account for new expectations in our contract…nope, can’t do that either because that again goes to funding and … well … you catch my drift.

So what does it come down to? Once again, you have to vote at your local level. Get involved, and for God’s sake buy your local teacher some liquor when teacher appreciation day rolls around. They’ll need it.


A Tale of Two Stories

It’s a Shakespearian Tragedy

It’s a tale of two stories, both in Florida – that discordant state. On one end, a water crises due to so many COVID patients in the hospital, on the other, a state threatening to withhold funding for schools.

Let me break it down.

On Friday, Orlando asked their residents to cut back on water usage, specifically water consumption that included washing cars, filling pools, and mostly watering lawns. Though…why people who won’t wear masks will stop watering their lawns is beyond me. Anyway, the rationing of water is due to the increasing number of Covid patients in Orlando hospitals. You see, liquid oxygen is used in Florida to treat their water (because it smells and tastes swampy) and it’s ALSO needed to treat patients who can’t breathe because of Covid. It’s dystopia.

In the midst of this news, another story came out. Officials (Republican politicians) are threatening to cut funding to Florida schools that maintain a mask mandate. It’s tricky, because really what’s happening is that the state is threatening to not pay the salaries of board members and superintendents that enforce masks. You know, because to make people compliant you should crush their ability to earn a living and threaten them personally. I’m sure that works. (Wait, did I just describe capitalism?)

Ok…So what?

I can’t believe I’m still saying this AGAIN, but we are living in a time where local politicians are allowed to play politics with our health, with our children’s health, and with our communities health. Florida is spiraling, with over 12,000 cases reported on Friday (when these two stories came out) alone. Masks work (as this amazing opinion article from Iowa discusses).

Monday, Florida doctors staged a symbolic walk out to urge people to get vaccinated. In my own state, the government has made it illegal for us to require masks in schools, and it’s at the point where our city mayor is essentially at odds with our state government. I could lament the lack of community, but honestly, we’ve passed the time where we were all selling radishes in animal crossing while waiting for our sourdough to rise.

Something has fractured in our Democracy. It’s been happening for a while, but Trump really brought it to light. He made everything political, but when the pandemic hit, he made individualism toxic.

Nobody has the right to condemn others to die. That is what is happening right now with local politicians. By banning masks, they have condemned some students to death. This is no more apparent than in Florida where a city is rationing water to divert oxygen to Covid patients, and at the same time state legislatures are threatening school board members for creating mask mandates.

Get vaccinated. Wear a mask.


Back To School Haiku Review

On Covid

The first week has past

Covid gripped us already

Things can’t be normal

On Students

Some students have been

Online for over a year

Its hard to come back

On Masks

With no law in place

It’s hard to enforce the masks

Lots of small noses


A Day in the Life…of Teaching During a Pandemic.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what teaching during a pandemic is like…especially from people who think teachers are either A: Amazing or B: Lazy. There’s generally no in between. Questions range from “What happens if a kid sneezes?” to “Where do you eat?” to “What do you do if a kid forgets/doesn’t wear/won’t wear their mask?” So, I thought I’d take a post, and walk you through my day.

A few notes. I teach middle school, which is different than Elementary. I’m also in a state that has banned mask mandates, so I can’t require kids wear a mask (though I can ask them).

Alright, let’s begin.

7:30: I arrive at school, coffee in hand. Inevitably someone is already there using the copier.

7:45: I need to print a change to the seating chart. The copier is already jammed.

8:00: Kids arrive for breakfast. They eat in the rooms and read. Those who wear masks replace masks after eating with no prompt from me (these kids are rockstars).

8:30-11:00: First three classes If you’re talking to your conservative friends, they probably think I’m teaching leftist propaganda. I’m not. I just teach history.

Some things that may happen in the class:

  • Kid sneezes, he pulls his mask off his face to sneeze. He then steps out of the room to blow his nose for ten minutes. I ask him to wash his hands. He says “Oh good idea!”
  • Kids wear masks…but on their chin. I say “I can’t make you wear a mask, but please wear it over your nose, or not at all. The chin strap is a distraction. The students put it over their nose.
  • Kid A wants to sit next to Kid B, they try to switch seats like I’m a sucker. I catch it. I explain contact tracing is still a thing, and I need to know where they are. They move back no problem.
  • A kid takes off his mask to wipe their nose. They then try to hand me the paper they just touched with their hand that wiped their nose. I ask them to hang on to it.

Lunch. It’s in the cafeteria. Kids eat, clean up, and go outside. Many of them replace their masks after eating, and even keep them on outside. They really are pretty amazing humans.

11:40-2:45: Next three classes. After lunch is a whole different ballgame. Some things that happen after lunch:

  • Miss can I go to the bathroom? x 150 students.
  • Masks are sweaty, so need to get replaced if the student asks.
  • Students are wearing chin straps again. Again, I ask them to wear the mask right, or not at all. They have chosen to wear it correctly 100% of the time.
  • “Wait, why do we have the same seating chart in every classroom?” “Well, because there’s a pandemic, and we need to contact trace.” “Oh yeah!” from the kid wearing a mask 100% correctly 100% of the time.
  • I catch a few notes getting passed around
  • I catch a few talkers
  • I catch a few drawers

Prep: The copier is probably jammed again.

Ok…so what?

A lot has been said about masks and socializing. I am here to tell you, masks are not a problem when it comes to middle schoolers making and keeping friends. These students will talk to you all the time. They will talk to their friends all the time. They get crushes, date, and break up. ALL. THE. TIME. Masks are not hindering their socializing in anyway.

Why is this important?

Recently, school…and what happens in schools… has been super politicized, but the real story is much more boring. Kids know what they need to do to keep their community safe. They don’t argue, they don’t fight back. Sure, sometimes they’re defiant, but not about masks. They roll their eyes when I ask them to spit out their gum (that I still catch even with a mask on).

Bottom line? Teaching during a pandemic is difficult. I’m, currently, very nervous for the health of my students, and I think that our elected officials have blood on their hands for banning mask mandates. But…it’s not the students. They are amazing.

Teachers do not wake up looking to indoctrinate your children. We wake up hoping that we can stay healthy, and praying that we can keep your kids healthy.

We also wake up with the absolute knowledge that today, the copier will jam when you need it most.