Whoa, 2020 was a doozy of a year!
Wait, what? It isn't over yet?
Who am I kidding? Absolutely no one, and I know it. I think we are all feeling like we barely made it through 2019, but 2020 is kicking our collective...
Ask me why I am starting a new blog, please.
Well, there have been so many things on my mind that have nothing to do with lesson planning, assessment, teaching, curriculum and language learning I needed more space to think and breathe and process, so I decided to give that space to myself as a birthday present. Plus, there are new adventures on the horizon for me, and that is going to lead to all sorts of uncharted paths, and I have no idea where they will lead or what they will have me pondering. It was just time to give the thinker / writer / reflecter in me a new venue to explore myself as a person, my world and how it is evolving, and all the unexpected surprises that new directions bring.
Professionally speaking, I am leaving the traditional language classroom to join a team at a career institute in my new district. The school is a program for students who want to learn a trade while in high school, and is designed to help them earn licenses in that trade each year. The world language team I am a part of will be tasked with developing a language program to teach Spanish and German for the workplace and provide opportunities to our learners to personalize according to the trade they are pursuing. As far as I know, nothing like this exists in the state, so it will be a real learning, collaborative adventure finding our way to develop our students' ability to use the language in the REAL, real world. I am incredibly excited about this new job, and I am sure there will be lots and lots to blog about as we navigate those waters together.
Educationally speaking, I am doing a lot of thinking, researching and deciding about continuing my learning. In a nutshell, I think I am finally ready to go back to grad school. I have needed to get my Master's for a while, but didn't really have the focus and energy, much less a clear idea of what I wanted to study and achieve. I think I have come to a decision, but I am not quite ready to say anything about that just yet. More info on that matter soon enough. (Plus, I have a lot of applications forms to fill in to see what aid I can even get!) We will see...
Doing the Work
We are all living out history and watching it evolve before our very eyes these days, and many people I know (myself included) are trying to do what we can to learn, grow, help, support, step up, step back, reflect, interject and whatever else we can to push for social justice and truly equal rights and access to all Americans in the light of the Black Lives Movement, the loss of so many precious Black lives at the hands of police brutality, and the boiling point all of these things have lead to. We have never had such easy access to resources to educate ourselves about the lived experiences of BIPOC in our country, to the point that it can be hard to know where to begin.
For me, I my work has done some shape shifting. There are so many things I am doing, and so many things I want to do. My heart is full of grief, compassion, guilt, shame, love, anger, hope, despair, outrage, reflection, clarity and confusion, and so many of those things at the same time or in stages throughout each day. I want to DO SOMETHING, and yet sometimes the best thing I can do is just sit, be quiet and just feel the weight of my discomfort, the weight of my helplessness, the despair of not knowing what to do or where to begin. Why? To empathize as much as I can. To be quiet so that the voices of BIPOC can be heard. To listen, really listen. To read, to watch, to learn, to reflect. I write a lot these days, and I should do even more of that. I read a lot more these days, read and pass on, so that anyone who trusts me enough to value what I say or share might benefit from what is benefitting me. I am having to learn that my need to talk and process can and does exhaust the BIPOC in my life, and is an act of centering all of this on me and my need to understand it all, control it in my brain, at a time when they are fighting hard to keep the mundane going despite the holy fires that righteously rage inside of them. Even this blog post feels a little like a theft. It is not meant to rob anyone of their voice, their moment or anything else. It is meant for anyone white like me who is looking for a tiny bit of structure to their own self exploration, self education. Please humor me for one more moment.
With all the ease and access to resources, movies, articles, podcasts, music, poetry, art and everything else flying around the internet, social media, and streaming services, I thought I could take a lesson from some of the resources I have seen available for Bible studying. This idea is terribly rough right now, but I hope it will still help someone out there like me who finds herself searching for a way to process so that reading, watching, listening and viewing is fruitful, meaningful and long-lasting. Maybe this will evolve into a pretty little PDF like the SOAK/SOAP method that has been so popular for personal Bible study, but for now I am going to release the need for pretty perfection and just share the idea. Whether you journal, blog, discuss with a trusted friend or just use them to think, here are some reflection questions that might make whatever you are doing to educate yourself about the lived experiences of BIPOC more purposeful, more intentional:
Amy's Ideas for Anti-Racist Reflections:
I think a good place to stop is with the questions we still have because that means we have more to learn and more work to do. It is our, "Yes, and..." that will keep us moving forward. It is meant to leave the ownership with us of our journey. It implies that the next steps are up to us. Do we leave those questions unanswered, or do we wake up tomorrow seeking? Also, we should wonder, what does it feel like to have an existence that isn't tied up neatly with a bow for us?
Just thinking outloud,
hi, I'm amy
I am a mother, a teacher, a designer of learning experiences, a teacher trainer, a blogger, but more than anything a learner. This is my space to be vulnerable, take risks, and share what I learn in the process.