Monday, April 22, 2013


I feel like all the blogs I'm writing lately are crap. Usually, my mantra of William Stafford's advice to keep my standards low and just keep writing works. But I read other peoples' blogs, and realize that for me to write something that is not only cathartic to me, but potentially meaningful to anyone else, I need more time.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Writing my Résumé

I've felt a little hindered lately in what I post here. I just removed a downright angry post from over a year ago, and I find myself wanting to blog, but feeling a bit imaginatively constipated (with a few exceptions).

For one, my life is "frittered away by detail" right now. Simplify? There is not much to be done unless I start preparing frozen dinners. Get help? I have some help, but life is full of the types of details most of the world would envy: Too much grading (because I am employed), trips to the bank (to pay the landscapers), dental appointments (because we have insurance), job search (because my spouse's new company is becoming successful and it's time to move there), attending to my children (because they are bright, curious, energetic, imaginative, intense and industrious--and they love me), cleaning the house (because it is so cozy and cute when we keep it tidy, and also free of stink) and tending to the doggie (because we are lucky to have Rox. She's just, as G would say, Haa-Hooooo.)

For another reason, every time I go to write anything online lately, I find myself thinking: "if a potential employer reads this, would it increase or decrease my chances of being hired?" And even though I don't share everything on my blog, the thought that, in effect, I am always writing my résumé stunts me. Ugh.

Having recently lived through our district's "professional boundaries" training where I learned that there is a lot of grey area but a word of warning about what we post online publicly, even though I do not believe there is anything on my blog that I regret putting there, and even though we were led to believe that the grey area is there so that we don't all become rulebound automatons, the grey area also leaves us vulnerable to painful trials should someone in the community feel uncomfortable with something I've posted. I really begin to ponder whether teachers who value their careers can truly exercise freedom of expression outside the classroom. Like politicians, or like back in the days of the small-town school, the teacher's public activities now become, to a certain extent, circumscribed by the school community.

What about art and poetry-- things adults create that might not be created to distribute amongst their students? We may not see any negative repercussions ever, but are we really free to express ourselves? Everything can become widely public in the fake click of a smartphone camera. In reality, our students are actually more free than we are to express themselves and critique the system. I hear them doing it as soon as they walk out the door of my classroom.

Perhaps these reflections don't illuminate anything, and managing a public identity is what any professional adult might face. These are just initial thoughts on the matter, anyhow. At the heart of the issue is that I need to do more writing that is just for me and my own growth and satisfaction. I do that often, but I must admit that for me, part of the satisfaction is knowing that someone somewhere read it or might read it, and that's where the head games begin.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Sad TEST-imony

My classroom was used for the AIMS math test yesterday, and this was sketched on one of the desks:

The Handout Ghetto

I told my writing class that I wanted to write a hip hop song and they laughed at me.  So I wrote one.

My most recent Stories from School post is about an issue that may appear to be petty-- the lack of funds to provide any kind of color in my handouts to kids.

The overall issue of how to make info. available to students and venues for having students interact with content and skills is much larger than colored paper or a color printer, but my main point is that the materials and resources available to most of us have a hard time competing with the media and color kids encounter outside of the classroom.  Which messages will win the war for the minds of humanity?

Thanks for reading (or rapping).

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Untitled Poem

you filled my hands weightlessly
baby lettuces after misty rain
soft leaves flickering
cool flames against my palms
my fingers
a light cage catching
your moth wings
I peeked, hesitant

here is the church
here is the steeple
open the doors

Wrote this today... a bit raw, but a nice nugget.  Probably fictional, if I could quite figure out what I'm saying, but I haven't really gotten that far.  The sounds, sensations and the image of delicate spring lettuce leaves, and then gentle hands, carried me.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Poem: It's about Time

Here it is April 7 and I have not written one poem during National Poetry Month.

I always feel that the best poets have developed their own private language that miraculously speaks to others. Perhaps that is one source of the following poem that I wrote a few months back with my Creative Writing class during our daily writing time.  I've revised it a bit.  I think it could use further exploration, but I allowed myself the type of repetition that I normally consider an indulgence. Maybe writing poetry is a little of an indulgence.  Part indulgence, part cry, part puzzle, part game, part creative act. The other day it occurred to me that within the overwhelming tide of dichotomies in our culture, perhaps poetry is at least one place where a person can still float an idea without having it jackknifed with ideology.



I am confined by my own language.
With language, freedom creates confinement and isolation.
The more unconfined by convention, the more isolated by incomprehension.
I have been confined by conventionality.
The unconventional in me has isolated me; my loneliness has been highly conventional.
The conventions of being unconventional are confining.
I am isolated by the inability to conform to the conventions of the unconventional.
My resistance to convention continues to confine me to the convention.
The institution is inclusive and isolating in its conventionality but
any subversion is in the conventional forms.
Subversion is convention; subversion isolates and confines.
Subversion reiterates convention.
The limits of language are convention.
The limits of experience are language.
The limits of experience are perception.
The limits of experience are the conventions of perception.
To achieve freedom we must shift perception.
To shift perception, we must shift language.
To shift language, we must shift convention.

Creating new conventions shifts reality.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Personality tests drive me crazy.  I can always see all sides to each question. I end up a mixture of everything. Slight preference toward this or that. Except for Intuition over Sensing, they are all slight and, like every other silly test like this, I pretty much end up in the middle, in true Libra fashion, despite me not believing in astrology in any kind of literal way. That was a long sentence.  

I took this one in response to repeated requests from someone doing research on personality types of National Board Certified Teachers. For what it's worth...

Your Type
Introvert(11%)  iNtuitive(50%)  Feeling(12%)  Perceiving(22)%
  • You have slight preference of Introversion over Extraversion (11%)
  • You have moderate preference of Intuition over Sensing (50%)
  • You have slight preference of Feeling over Thinking (12%)
  • You have slight preference of Perceiving over Judging (22%)
(Haha-- I just re-edited this because I wrote "astronomy" instead of "astrology." One of the mistakes that peeves me when others commit it.  Guess I'm not getting any younger!)