I teach beautiful human beings, who happen to be immigrants. Please stop calling them “illegals”

The Immigrant by Michael Murphy, Wonderspaces, Austin, TX I'm a teacher. My students are beautiful. They're funny. Their hearts run deep. They're so sweetly empathetic. They may lose their minds when I take up their phones - heaven forbid they go more than 5 minutes without snapchat! They may mouth off when they have a … Continue reading I teach beautiful human beings, who happen to be immigrants. Please stop calling them “illegals”

Knocked down by a feather

 Yesterday was tough. The traumatic effects of living in fear sprang to life and we could no longer pretend that everything is business as usual. A student saw an ICE agent in the hallways of our school. A man dressed in khakis and a dark green shirt. Everyone tried to remain calm, but everyone was … Continue reading Knocked down by a feather

Just pink cards on a wall

Stapled to the wall of my classroom is a world map, around which dozens of cards are posted. On these cards are the introductions my students wrote on the first day of this school year. So much has changed for them since September. Lately, I find myself going back to read these cards over. They are … Continue reading Just pink cards on a wall

Undefeated hearts fill my classroom

In my class of mostly undocumented students, we've been talking about hope. We've been talking about triumph over adversity. We've been talking about staying focused when fear, hate and uncertainty swirl around you. We have plunged head first into the pools of Maya Angelou's fierce words of perseverance. As one of my senior girls said, … Continue reading Undefeated hearts fill my classroom

It's the 1980's and I'm reading Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl for the first time. My child's heart is shattered. I can't grasp the hate that methodically pursued the death of 6 million people. I can't imagine what it feels like to have your freedom and security utterly stripped away, leaving you no choice but to hide, and eventually … Continue reading

Within these four walls

Walking into a room full of teenagers is never easy. It's fun, it's exhilarating, it's exhausting, and it's maddening. It's a heartbreaking, uplifting labyrinth of hormone fueled emotions. Teaching high school is a crazy job, but I love it. How to handle each individual without bias or presumption, to expand minds and open hearts, to build foundations … Continue reading Within these four walls

Bellies Full of Love

There are these amazing women at my school. They are strong and dedicated to their job. They don't have the luxury of sitting at a desk, or of sipping their morning coffee as they work. These women sweat, pushing cartloads of coolers around our sizeable campus, struggling to get through doors and around corners. Bending, pushing, … Continue reading Bellies Full of Love

It’s never okay to vote for sexual assault

Let me start by saying that I believe that no matter who wins, in this presidential election, we've all lost. Decency, trust, and integrity are not part of this political landscape. Perhaps that's why this election seems to be bringing out the worst in us. We feel hopeless and angry. Anger. There is definitely an … Continue reading It’s never okay to vote for sexual assault

Yes, You Can Say the F-Word

Little humans. We teach them to be polite and compassionate. We teach them to use their words instead of their fists. We teach them to be active listeners and respectful of others. I watch my daughter learning how to be kind and thoughtful, and experience both relief and dread. Yes, I want my daughter to be … Continue reading Yes, You Can Say the F-Word