Current Events Education Haiku Poetry Teaching

It’s Like We Could Have Prevented This…

You know what’s wild?

When a lack of mitigation

Leads to a case rise.

It’s almost as though

We could have seen it coming

Oh wait…we did see.

Instead choosing to do nothing

And now cases rise.

One quarter absent

Yesterday at my school

What do I do with that?

Teachers are so so tired

Because…we told you so.

Current Events Education Local Government Poetry Teaching

A Lack of Teachers

Is not because of teachers

It’s becoming clear

That the teaching profession

Is in some trouble

Put very simply

There are not enough teachers

To man the classrooms

Conservatives say

This is a teacher problem

That “we” are too “soft”

This is not the case

The profession of teaching

Is treated poorly

Teachers have low pay

Combined with high education

Our hours are long

Our work is not just hard

It can also be dangerous

Not only covid

But we have angry students

We have poor buildings

On top of threats of shootings

And high expectations

We are not babysitters

We are professionals with

Very high expertise

And we are also

Often treated like shit from admin

And the public.

It’s not hard to see

Why teachers are leaving quick

With none in the wings.

So, don’t act as though

You’re suddenly surprised when

Your kids’ teacher quits.

Education History

The Causes of the American Revolution

As Told by Gifs (Part 1)

Have you ever woken up and really wished that there were a way you could learn about the American Revolution that spoke to you? Never fear, The American Revolution as told by GIFS is here!

Let’s start at the beginning. Britain, France, and the 13 Colonies end the 7 Year War in 1763 after—you guessed it— 7 years. A lot happened in this war, but the TL;DR version is that it cost Britain a shit ton of money, and resulted in the Proclamation Line of 1763 which didn’t allow colonists to go steal more Indigenous lands. But…if you’ve ever met a colonist…

After the war, which also took place in Europe by the way, stop buying into American Exceptionalism…

Britain was basically broke and since they went into debt partially by fighting the French for the American Colonists, Parliament turned to the 13 Colonies for help.

As you can imagine, the 13 colonies didn’t love that too much.

Let’s talk for a minute about the different taxes that Britain tried to impose. Actually, jk, it doesn’t matter because the colonists whined so much about the taxes that Britain repealed all of the laws.

…except one.

I want to be really clear here. The tea tax was the final tax imposed on the colonists, and it mainly hit the merchants buying the tea from Britain (though consumer prices went up, of course, because capitalism). Also, there were more regulations so people couldn’t bootleg tea anymore. Britain thought they were awesome. They’d finally made a tax that was going to stick, no one could possibly be angry!

I mean, I don’t want to belabor the point but…have you ever met a colonist?

This group of kids called the Sons of Liberty, which, by the way, would be described as Anti-Fa now, decided they were really going to stick it to the British and their tea tax.

And thus, we have the Boston Tea Party. I’ve included a dramatic recreation for you below.

The tea party, as fun as it sounds, actually cost the Brits a whole lot of money. Millions of dollars worth of tea was destroyed. My favorite part is that the Sons of Liberty trolled around the harbor for the next day or so, making sure no one came to steal any of the floating tea.

The Brits, of course, were super pissed.

The Boston Tea Party led directly to the Intolerable Acts…but you’ll have to tune in to part two for that.

Current Events Education Haiku History Poetry

Learning is Radical

“The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility” — bell hooks

The classroom spaces

Are under attack right now

To try to stop change

Education is

A powerful thing for kids

And adults alike

A lack of knowledge

Means keeping the status quo

While education

Means moving forward

We can not afford to stop

We must keep teaching.

Current Events Education History

The Weaponization of Gossip

In the workplace, it’s really about control.

If you’re a woman, perhaps you’ve been told you’re a gossip. Or, you’ve been warned against gossip. Perhaps you’ve even been forced to watch Tedx clips about why you shouldn’t gossip at work, given to you by some dude on the internet.

The term “gossip” tends to be a phrase that uniquely targets women, and the way in which women interact with one another. It carries a negative connotation, and people often consider gossiping as “bad.” In Puritan New England, gossip was called “gadding about”, even Martha Ballard, that great New England midwife, called herself a gadder. Probably because she had all the juicy details of everyone’s lives (and could testify in court if a woman named the father of an illegitimate child on her birthing bed).

Now, we call gossip “spilling the tea” or “hot gos” or, simply, “chatting.” Whatever you call it, it’s usually targeted at female groups, and, occasionally, used as a weapon within workplaces.

The Weaponization of Gossip

Some workplaces, usually female centered (though not always), attempt to “ban” gossip. It’s actually something I’ve heard a lot from fellow teachers discussing their workplace conditions. The problem with this is that gossip is a hugely broad term, and may be defined as anything “negative.”

By defining any negative speak as “gossip” and therefore banned within the workplace, it prevents women (or anyone), from discussing workplace problems or issues. In a world where male administrators may not listen to the concerns of their female colleagues, this is problematic. Additionally, a “ban” on gossip may create a culture of fear — where you may be worried to tell someone about a problem for fear of “being negative” and getting reported. It’s like, McCarthyism, but at work!

The fear of being perceived as “negative” prevents people from perhaps discussing important topics like, oh I don’t know, wages, harassment, internal policies, or other things that employees may want to take collective action on. A ban on gossip harms everyone, but can be especially harmful for any BIPOC employees. Bias is real.

And, there’s the rub. It’s that collective action part that administrators or bosses want to prevent.

Ok…so what?

So, what can you do? Well, obviously, the answer is to gossip about it. Because often what employers deem as gossip…is not actually gossip.

At its core, gossip is information. Information about time, work, pay, conditions, experiences. Information is powerful and information is almost always used as an avenue of change. On the flip side any attempt to control or hide information is almost always used to stagnate and maintain power.

So talk my friend. Spill the beans, the tea, gad about, chat, discuss, laugh, get angry, get sad, get happy and importantly — share information. Stay powerful.

Current Events Education Poetry

A Note on the Great Resignation

A free-write on the (lack of) intellectual property

Perhaps you know this, but in most jobs…or at least most of the jobs I’ve had, anything you create for that job is not your own intellectual property. Instead, your creative brainchild is the property of the company you work for. Depending on the rules or the fine print of a contract, that could mean that anything you created using company internet — or even a company computer — is not actually yours.

Since all the newspapers tell us that we are in the middle of a “Great Resignation” I thought it may be appropriate to discuss this a little bit.

I’m a teacher. Not only that, I’m a teacher that was hired as the first history teacher in a brand new Jr. High. Administration gave me full creative freedom. What this means is that I’ve created every stitch of Jr. High history curriculum. Now that the school has expanded, my curriculum is our curriculum. I pull extensively from the American Yawp, but I’ve also created power points and activities using unique knowledge that only I have. I’ve won awards for this curriculum and, suffice it to say, it’s been a boon for my school. It is, in essence, intellectual property.

However, it’s not technically my own. I didn’t get a stipend, or even a raise from doing this, I just…had to do it because that was the option. If I were to quit, *technically* my school could take all of what I created and leave me with access to nothing.

Now, you may say to yourself, surely they wouldn’t do that? Surely they would allow you to take curriculum that you created with you? Or, at least keep the curriculum and give you access to it.

I like to think that. And perhaps they would, however I’ve known teachers who, upon giving their notice, were locked out of all school files. Not at my school, but at others. Since I may move states this Summer, I’ve started to think about how I can protect myself, and all the work that I’ve done personally. Much of which was done outside of contract hours, on my personal computer.

Ok…So What?

As the article I linked to above explains, a lot of this “Great Resignation” is much more about “switching”, or rather, going somewhere that pays you more money and where you are more valued.

I know that a lot of teachers are contemplating their options right now. So many of us are unhappy in our circumstances and we are looking to go somewhere that will treat us better, or have better amenities.

If this is you, I would take care to save the things you have created. It is very likely that many teaching jobs won’t care…or even know…if you take curriculum with you. However, it is possible that if you plan on giving in your notice, you’ll lose everything you’ve done.

Sure, you can probably re-create it to some extent. But, that’s a lot of time and energy. So, save it. Make sure you have access to it. Make sure that the things you’ve done you can keep to some extent.

And, if you’re not sure of the policies in your school or job…ASK. Information is power, so it’s often obfuscated. Be sure to know your rights and take steps to protect yourself.

Education Poetry


A free-write on teaching and planning.

It started with a sneeze. And then my ears began to pop. I have inner ear issues anyway, so I thought it was the weather changing (I can predict snow based on how loud my tinnitus is — it’s totally true). I woke up and went to work.

I feel, at this point, obligation to say it’s not Covid. It’s just a cold. Because that’s what we all must say if we are sick from now until eternity. It’s not covid. It’s a cold.

At work, the fatigue set in. Still. I didn’t see the signs. I thought it was the 160 students I teach, or the coming break, or the angst and frustration I feel at administration. Besides, it was a Monday. Surely there are a million reasons I’m tired and annoyed. I wear a mask, I haven’t really been around anyone. Surely I’m just tired.

Then, the scratchy throat, the low voice, the coughs.

At this point I now feel obligated to say that I wear a mask all day everyday, even though I’ve had three covid shots. Even though my state doesn’t mandate it. I do it so I don’t spread germs.

Good thing I do. Because I’m sick.

In — almost — any other job, if you’re sick, you call in and that’s it. Other people may have to work a little harder, or take on some of your normal responsibilities, but you either go home, or you call in. You wash your hands and then go to sleep.

Not if you’re a teacher.

Once I determined that I was degressing, and not progressing, I decided to “call in” for the next day. But this is where the planning started.

Because, you see, someone can’t step in and just “work for me”. I have to leave them with a plan. I have to leave them with a plan they can carry out. I have to leave them with copies and a paper with instructions for each class and seating charts and procedures.

I have to leave them with a schedule, with a list of the kids to watch for. I have to plan it down to the minute so they know *exactly* what to do with each class.

Now, they could just “show the slides” I guess — but lets be real. I’m the one with information in my brain, and I can’t guarantee a sub will have that. So the plan ALSO has to be relevant but something that anyone who knows nothing about history can handle.

So. In essence, it’s off plan for me.

ok…so what?

Well. Number 1, I’m mad that I’m getting colds again. I miss how everyone used to wear masks and wash their hands. You know, the early days of the pandemic when people were still kind.

Number 2: It’s more work to plan to be sick, than to come in with a sickness. And therein lay the problem. I don’t have a strong solution. Sure – I could have thrown together some shit that the kids could have just done, but then I would have been ‘in trouble’ for not leaving a good enough plan.

I think this is what people don’t quite understand about teaching. I won’t lie, summers off is actually quite glamourous. But in return, it means that I’m around 160 teenagers with God knows what on their hands. Teachers do, and will, get sick. When that happens, we don’t get to just “call in”.

It’s planning and preparation, and it’s more than most professionals have to do.

So please, send your kid to school in a mask. It’s the responsible thing to do, because we are still in the middle of a pandemic.


Current Events Haiku Poetry

The right to choose?

Haiku Review Saturday

Expensive Healthcare

Equals expensive birthing

AND body damage

Birth control access

Is easier than it was

Barriers exist

Doctors prescribe it

What if you have no doctor?

Or no insurance?

Well, there are options

Example: planned parenthood

But…there’s defunding

Rollback of Roe/wade

A dangerous precedent

All about control…

Current Events Education History Poetry

The Thanksgiving Legacies Parades Never Taught You

Part One: The Pequot Massacre

On Thursday, millions of people in the United States will sit down with family members they barely like and eat an awkward meal together. Perhaps you’ll have to endure the ramblings of your sister’s boyfriend Deuce (Thaddeus) as he says “at the first Thanksgiving everyone got along, what’s wrong with America now days are our own divisions.”

If you’re anything like me, your family has already heard how the Thanksgiving Story was romanticized by a magazine editor to be barely true, or you’ve discussed how FDR changed the date of holiday to extend the Christmas shopping season. In short – your family has probably already told you to “keep your liberal views” to yourself at the table, while everyone else spouts off incorrect information about the holiday and what America lacks now-days.

Well. If this is you – I have you covered. Welcome to Part One of the Thanksgiving Legacy you never knew about. The Pequot Massacre.

Pilgrims Vs. Puritans

First, I want to note. The people involved in the Pequot Massacre were largely Puritans. The Puritans are NOT the Pilgrims. Seriously, they aren’t. The Puritans wanted to leave England and create a “city upon a hill”, which is to say they wanted to create a cool kids club that everyone in Britain would look at and want to be like. The Pilgrims – the ones who celebrated the “first” Thanksgiving – arrived on the Mayflower and landed on what they called Plymouth. They were religious separatists who wanted nothing to do with Britain. Pilgrims were poor, and had very small numbers. Puritans were middle class, and came in droves.

Also, neither group landed here first. In fact – the Pilgrims arrived in New England in 1621 – Jamestown was founded in 1607, cannibalism occurred in Jamestown in 1609-1610, and the first enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia in 1619. So no. Pilgrims and religion did not “found” America. Profit, labor, and exploitation “founded” America.

The Massacre

Let me set the scene. It’s 1637. Settlers in New England have “claimed” land that was occupied by Native Americans, the Pequots. Obviously, these settlers have no real authority over this land, but this is what we call a “borderland”. Which is to say, it’s an area where two or three very different groups come in conflict with one another. And by conflict, I mean fighting. Borderlands are generally violent spaces, drought with tension and misunderstandings. That’s exactly what had happened between the New England colonists and the Pequots. As the colonists encroached on Native land and trade, the Pequots fought back. Sporadic fighting occurred on both sides, leaving a handful of dead in its wake.

In May of 1637, a group of armed colonists marched into the Native American territory, calling themselves the “sword of the Lord.” The group was made up of men from various New England colonies, including Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, and Connecticut. The men surrounded the Pequot village, and the massacre began. The colonists lit the houses on fire and killed anyone trying to escape, shooting them or cutting them down with swords. Men, women, and children were killed. Upwards of 700. Families attempted to escape their burning houses and were callously slaughtered, not by the dozens, but by the hundreds. This was not a fight, not a war, this was a massacre. Not only that, it was a premeditated massacre.

Ok…So What?

Over the course of the next two months, the colonists and their allies, decimated the Pequots in a series of other attacks. By the end of the summer of 1637, most of the Pequot nation was dead. Those who survived, the Puritans sold into slavery – yes, the New England colonists engaged in the slave trade, they were enslavers and sellers of Native Americans and Africans.

So, sixteen years after the first “Thanksgiving”, the New England colonies and the Native Americans were killing each other over land and trade disputes, and the colonists were fighting dirty, ambushing and killing without remorse. In killing Pequots, colonists could gain land, maximize profit by selling people into enslavement, and take resources and trade routes for their own.

This was only a first step. The 1670’s brought King Phillips War. Join me on Thursday for Part II of “The Thanksgiving Legacies Parades Never Taught You”

History of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
They didn’t eat Turkey at Thanksgiving either.

Current Events Education Local Government Poetry

An Absence of Knowledge

A free-write on book banning

Nobel Prize in Literature

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Presidential Medal of Freedom

These are only three of the many awards Toni Morrison has won. Yet schools are pulling her books (amongst others).


Because with every action comes an equal and opposite reaction. Because the path to change is through the next generation. And, at heart, change is uncomfortable. It’s a discomfort that comes with a loss of power.

Let me be clear. These are not valid reasons. Learning should make you feel uncomfortable. You should wallow in your discomfort. You should watch the walls that you’ve built around yourself crumble down.


So you can rebuild yourself with better materials. Knowledge is not congruent with stagnation. Knowledge is the house that is always under construction.

Because, you see, learning is the action of remaking our knowledge base with stronger materials. Learning is active, you must constantly be building your house with better, and stronger, and newer materials.

And I’m not talking about “information I found on youtube” or “on some website that upheld my already firmly held, and stagnated, belief.” No. Those are bad building materials. They’re the rotted wood that causes your roof to leak. That’s lazy building.

Ok…so what?

Toni Morrison should be required reading. Toni Morrison is the type of author who writes something so gloriously beautiful that you can’t believe you’ve lived without that book, and those words, and that story for half your life.

So why would we want to stop children from experiencing that?

Fear. Adults are afraid of new knowledge. They are comfortable in their house, even if there’s not enough sunlight or the furniture needs to be replaced

There is the problem.

Children are constantly learning. They are building forts and toppling them down to build new ones in trees or on mountains. Adults…well many adults stop learning the minute they are out of school. They have old methods and old information stuck in their head, and they want to reinforce that old knowledge and protect it from new ideals.

So, adults remove choice from children.

Because that’s what this is. The removal of books is the removal of choice. The absence of information is still a method of control. When you don’t give information, it doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. It means you’re hiding it.

Not telling the full story is still a lie.

The removal of books is a method of control – don’t let anyone fool you into thinking it’s “for the children.”

It’s not. It’s to control the children.