I remember the first time I learned about the amazing MFA writing program offered by Iowa State. The thought of it made me drool. Long, chilly fall days in libraries, sitting at big wooden tables with my fellow authors. Chats with professors who lived to discuss literature and hobnobbed with the best writers in the world.
Then I saw the program’s price and settled for a communications degree at the Univsersity of Idaho.
We all love the idea of surrendering our lives to a two-year program of nothing but beautiful books and late nights writing sessions with gangs of lit nerds, but for many, it can’t happen. …
Elliot Page, (whom you’ll recognize as actor Ellen Page), announced on Twitter that he is a trans male. He posted about the joy of his transition, how grateful he feels to his amazing community, and his new fears. He realizes to ask for the pronouns he, him, and they seem small, but the move puts him in immense danger.
The internet responded immediately, editing his name to reflect his new phase in life and erase his dead name. Every site from Netflix to Google changed Ellen to Elliot, and I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief.
I know all too well the struggle trans people go through to exist, to have a name. As a teacher, I’ve stood on the front lines of that fight. …
I wandered around in a daze these past few weeks. After the dust settled (?) on the election, I tracked down all the clients who had yet to pay me, and settled into a new round of assignments, I felt numb.
But I found my nerve endings in a truly odd place — a punk rock history podcast, No Dogs in Space.
I went through high school a sworn punk. I didn’t want to shop at any malls, (too capitalist), be on a sports team, (too mainstream), or date anyone remotely good-looking, (ugly people only, please). And I spent every weekend in garages and basements across Boise, Idaho listening to flash in the pan bands that never went anywhere, but I happily handed over my crinkled up dollar bills for the chance to jump up and down to their one-two-step sounds. …
I am flat-on-my-back exhausted. I dedicated my morning to helping a first-grade student I’ll call Xavier with his online school.
If you’ve never done a Zoom class with your child or any child, I want you to take a moment to fall to your knees and thank every deity in the sky for your amazing life.
I wasn’t the teacher. Instead, I filled in as an at-home helper or at least the helper’s sub.
I did everything I could to make my charge’s online classes bearable. I jumped up and down and shouted with joy during online P.E. I silently mouthed “Listen to your teacher,” to reinforce the English lesson. I pushed Xavier’s iPad into his limp hands while his Spanish teacher plowed through a bog of a grammar lesson. …
This winter, I’m tackling a return to Medium after several months away and a new graphic novel, The Dyslexia Book, due to come out next year.
This two-pronged goal got me thinking about how to organize myself and my time. Is it possible for me to blog on-topic, (education), in a way that helps my book-writing time instead of putting aside the work?
I found a few tricks that answered the questions with a joyous YES! Not only do I feel confident my writing is better, but I also don’t question if an article helps me or takes away from my future goals. …
This fall I’m learning all about dyslexia. I chose this topic because, despite my 13 years of teaching, I knew nothing about it. I received no training, saw no PowerPoint presentations, nada.
Now, I’m working on The Dyslexia Book, a graphic novel all about learning, teaching, and parenting with dyslexia. So far, I am fascinated with dyslexic brains.
I’m not exaggerating — dyslexia is a unique style of genius. It makes neurons fire more heavily on the right side than the left, a process ideal for creative work, playing on a team, or inventing.
But spelling? That’s a chore that makes many dyslexics climb the walls. …
Throughout my life, I’ve carried an armload of depression. I attended baby ballet classes at six. Every step stung. I pushed through years of dance class convinced that even the lightest round of rehearsal induced horrible pain.
Elementary school left me weary despite the easy work. I drifted off in class into dark thoughts until teachers shook me out of my reverie. I managed to get A’s in my classes, but the easy assignments never cheered me up.
Instead, those high grades made me worry I wasn’t learning, school was simply too easy, and the pain grew deeper.
Through all the hurt, I turned to books and stories. I read incessantly. My mother, a devout teacher, could leave me in a section of her school’s library confident I’d find a new novel to read, slouch into a corner, and she could return hours later to find me in the same position and deep into the story. …
This is the first official story of my publication, Writing Education. Here are some of the basics of who we are, what we do, and why.
Writing Education will cover anything about school, teaching, the science of learning, reporting on schools, and anything related to true stories from schools.
Because education shapes culture, beliefs, personalities, and attitudes about the world. While our schools may struggle, there’s no way around our need to learn. …
My middle school was weird. It was in a huge, stone building packed with tiny classrooms, a massive lunchroom, and an ancient gym with creaky, wooden seats.
But that wasn’t the weird part. The strange part of the school was that we all attended it for one year only.
That meant all of us who went to separate elementary schools and would eventually move onto Jr. High had nowhere else to go for our sixth year of education.
So, we were all bussed to Central Middle School, where for one year we got a chance to make temporary friends, play in muddy fields, and learn with teachers we’d literally never see again. …
One picture I truly regret not snapping is of the terrifying marionette that hovered in a bus aisle as it’s aging puppeteer stood drooping over it. The puppet was at least thirty years old, with a stiff, matted orange wig and wide, tiny porcelain hands, and maniacal eyes that shifted side to side.
Normally I would not allow such an abomination anywhere near me, but I was stuck on the infamous 24 line.
The 24, like it’s puppet passenger, is one of the oldest, most infamous bus lines in Guadalajara, Mexico. …