Fight the good Fight - not the pretty one

Every year, October really irritates me... for a number of reasons.  Partially because of all of the pumpkin spice nonsense...

Seriously.  I think they are terrible.  So terrible.  They taste like sugar and regret.  A little bit like coffee.

Anyway, that's not what this is about.  There's another reason that I don't like October.

(Sexy Twizzlers, in case you didn't catch it)
<sigh>  Make that a two reasons... 

Yup -- the pink ribbon.  I HATE the pink ribbon.  And I hear you all screaming right now. 
"What?!  Breast Cancer is BAD.  How can you be against breast cancer awareness?!  Are you FOR breast cancer?  Are you a MONSTER??"
Short answer - no.  Not a monster, not pro-cancer.  Cancer = bad.  That's a pretty easy side of the fence to be on.
As a matter of fact, I have a personal history of breast cancer.  One day about 10 years ago I was attempting to wrestle my boobs into a sports bra (all women understand this image).  In doing so, I felt a lum…

Dear America: a letter from Las Vegas

Dear America,

I am writing to you today with a heavy heart and a conflicted mind.  As you know, last weekend, we were rocked by an unimaginable tragedy that has affected all of our two million citizens.  Most people don't realize there are two million of us.

Here's a map for context:

(Source: NASA image, circa 2010)
To orient you, the red areas are parks and golf courses; the grey areas are buildings; the brown is undeveloped desert.  In total, the metro area covers about 600 square miles.  It is massive.  However, most people don't think of much beyond the casinos and the Las Vegas Strip - which, for reference is that darker grey swath that cuts kind of diagonally through the lower center, with the airport slightly to its east. 
For the past week, all of us have been trying to grapple with the idea of someone - for whatever reason - opening fire on a crowd of innocent people, as if it was the opening scene of the latest Hollywood action film pitting a hero against some m…

Why teachers stop teaching - part 2

A few days ago, I got in my first ever Twitter scuffle (I won't call it an all-out Twitter war, because let's be honest, I'm not that important) with a local journalist.  He wrote about the contract dispute between the teachers and the local school district, blaming teachers and labor unions for the school district's budgetary problems.  I disagreed.  A lot.  I also felt the facts he used in his article were misleading, and in some places outright incorrect.  So I responded to him directly and wrote a fairly lengthy blog post airing my opinion.

OMG!  Kermit is using the wrong your/you're!
If you haven't read the first part of this post, it's fairly lengthy.  In short, I talk about how teachers are educated professionals that deserve to be treated with respect and deserve to be paid a reasonable salary.  Eventually, teachers leave the profession for lack of money.

I shared it on social media and got quite a bit of feedback - much more than usual.  I was very…

Why teachers stop teaching

Today, my local newspaper published an article blaming teachers for the shortcomings of our schools.    Not teachers' skills,  or dedication, or knowledge in their subject areas, but their paychecks.  Basically, the TL;DR version of the article, and to be very honest, there's no actual reason to read the article because the "journalist" (and I use the term very loosely) just made up a lot of crap, is that the school district is having massive financial problems (true) which is a direct result of teachers fighting for pay raises.



Let me just start with some basic facts, because this is not going to be pretty.

I started teaching in 2007.  My base salary was just under $30,000.00 per year in a large urban area.  I made so little money that as a single person, I qualified for county housing assistance for two years.

Let that sink in for a moment.

I was a full time teacher.  The county subsidized my housing.  More amazingly, the county had a special housing su…

The First 100-ish Days

I haven't been able to spend a lot of time blogging lately.  Mostly, that's because I spend all of my time lawyer-ing, which involves an absurd amount of writing.  Writing for fun after writing for work just wasn't working out for me.

However, now that things are settling down a little bit, I can sit down and write a little bit about the new world of lawyer-life that I've found myself in.  Since the world is obsessed with this idea of "the first 100 days," and I've been an attorney for 100-ish days, it seems like a good time.

Since I've transitioned from teacher to lawyer, people have a lot of questions... 

Ok, maybe not that question..

I'm going to try to answer some of them.....

1.  Do you like being a lawyer?
A: Generally speaking, yes.  Sometimes it is hard -- actually difficult.  While I'm not doing anything physically exhausting, I am expending a lot of mental energy.  I have to stay focused and I have to keep myself on track.  For the …

So... now it's over...

Yesterday, I used this sad llama to show how I felt about leaving my students

Today... I don't know... I have to try to find a sadder llama.  I don't know if there's a better embodiment of my heartbreak than Kuzco sitting in the rain as a sad llama.

Maybe a sad elephant.

Yeah - just imagine the saddest thing ever.  If you aren't crying - here's a BuzzFeed article to help start the tears.  Read that and then come back to me.

Ok?  Are you crying now?  Because I am.  I didn't even have to reread that article.  Just finding the link made me a little misty.  Don't judge.  It's been a rough day.

Today started like any other normal day.  Actually, it started earlier than most normal days because I had to get all my grades finalized so I went in early.

Before school even started, my neighbor came in to give me goodbye treats.  They were amazing and I ate way to many of them.  Again - this is a no judging post.  She gave me a sweet card and I started crying.  Ye…

The end of an era

Today has been absolutely heart wrenching.

I saw half of my students for the last time - since my school is on a block schedule, I only see my students every other day, making today the last time I will see many of them.

That also makes today the first real slap-in-the-face reality of leaving the classroom.  I have been a teacher for 10 years, plus some student teaching and that weird year in China, so... let's call it 12 - which is the same age as many of my students.  I have been a teacher since before most of my students could walk, or talk.  To them, it is a lifetime.

And I guess in many ways, it's a lifetime for me, too.

For the past ten years, I have woken up every day and gone into a room of young people where I was expected to be the smartest person in there -- or at least the one that knew what was going on...

Usually that was the case...

However, that wasn't always how it went.

Teaching is much harder than I ever thought it would be.  I also like it a lot more…