Monthly Archives: July 2014

Careers and Tears

Moving has been a heinous, disgusting disaster. 

And I haven’t even moved in yet. 

Long story short, here is a bullet pointed list of the fuck ups and ugly run ins that I have encountered. 

  • roommate went out of town–no one was there to open the apartment 
  • apartment complex opened the door (after needing 2 phone calls, written permission, and a reminder)
  • for Cooper who had the key to my storage box 
  • the storage box that was sitting on a trailer at the Uhaul down the street 
  • waiting for the movers who showed up on time 
  • but the Uhaul people acted like my pod, which was sitting outside, didn’t exist 
  • so I had to reschedule to movers 
  • and tell Cooper to leave the apartment key and the storage key under the mat 
  • of the empty apartment 
  • where the movers would be coming to the next day, a Monday 
  • at 8:00 AM, when everyone normal works 
  • except for my mother, who now-SUPRISE! runs her own small business what the actual fuck? 
  • mom gets there by 8:00 AM and so do the movers 
  • who bring with them an empty storage box 
  • and pack my stuff and drive it back to the Uhaul place 
  • who then has to combine my two boxes because, fuck you, y’all screwed up and I’m not shipping 2 boxes… 
  • and once they get everything to fit in one box the get it set up to be shipped 
  • and it won’t be here for a week… 

What is that nonsense?!?! Ok, rant over. 

 

Advertisements

Isolated.

If I wasn’t outspoken about my beliefs before, seven weeks of discussing race, class, gender, equity, micro-aggressions, and being “anti-racist” has ensured that I cannot sit silently and nod to ideas and actions that I just do not agree with.

If I did, I would get a fucking ulcer. 


Backstory: Last week, I visited my grandparents. My grandfather who I adoringly call “Pappy” is a Baptist Deacon and obviously, very conservative. Because of his knowledge about Christianity, I asked him, in all seriousness, to teach me about some of the Christian denominations that believed in equality of the sexes.

I didn’t even get started about equality for LGBTQ identities… 

He then went on a tangent about how those denominations are not on “God’s path” because women are not “the same” as men, God made the sexes differently. “That’s biblical and that’s that”. 

Well,” I scoffed. “I guess I can’t be a Christian then, because I don’t believe in a religion that sees me as inferior,” which of course, horrified him.

He then sent me a pleasantly condescending email about how he will be praying for me to accept Jesus and the “teachings of Christ”. Naturally, I screen shotted the sucker and texted it to my family in our group text. Here is what happened…  

20140723-212943-77383625.jpg

20140723-212943-77383753.jpg

20140723-212943-77383873.jpg


Now, I almost see my mother’s point. Why even bother with the old fart, right?

Because the issue is worth talking about, because I have things to say, because I have the ability to argue my opinion only because of the activists that came before me argued with the “old farts” and saw their movement as “worth it” even when they thought they could not change their minds. Even when they thought they could not change the minds of a nation.

Because becoming passive to oppression and inequality is the exact same thing as doing the oppressing yourself. 

Then, for my mother (who, might I add taught me to defend myself, about gender equity, about not being a bystander to racism and hatred of ANYONE) to tell me that some things aren’t worth arguing about physically hurt. 


Dear Mom,

WHAT?! You told me these things matter?!

You modeled this for me when I was seven. You wrote a letter to a Louisiana State Senator because you believed that the use of the word “nurturing” in criteria for state teaching evaluations was sexist language that perpetuated a majority female occupation and simultaneously perpetuated a stereotypical expectation of how women should act. AND DIDN’T STOP until you were listened to. AND GOT THE LANGUAGE changed.

AND TAUGHT YOUR NINE AND SEVEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTERS ABOUT WHAT YOU WERE DOING AND WHY AND HOW. 

You modeled this for me the time I was 14 and came home to school and repeated a “funny joke” I had heard that day. “A woman just can’t be President, because then once a month the whole nation would come crashing down”. You didn’t fucking laugh. You shamed me for my ignorance, for laughing, for not realizing the offensive nature of what this boy had said. You taught me how to combat this statement next time and why it was important.

Mom, when did you get so passive?


This is an example of how I am increasingly feeling isolated from my own family. Different paths, different pages.

HELP!

XOXO,

Sara Wildes 

Humbleness and Hysteria

Today marks the first day of “Kickoff”, where ATF org members reunite to focus on what we will be doing and who we will be as teachers in our actual placement schools. 

Today, we did a lot of reflection. 

During said reflection, some of the experiences of the summer actually fell into place and began (mind you only began) to take place. 

Most of these reflections on myself as a teacher were extremely humbling because, well, I realized how much I actually sucked. Really, really, actually, positively sucked. 

One example of suckage that particularly stands out is the story of Robert. 


Robert was a student in my summer school class. I noticed a few days into school that all of the students called him Red. Everyone in the gym in the mornings called him Red. 

Awesome, Robert has a nickname, I beamed to myself, praising myself for my observations. I’m going to call him by his nickname! I will show Robert how much he means to me, that I pay attention, I observe, I know about him and who he is. Look at me! Building relationship! I tooted my own horn so loud and proud, I even ran off and “enlightened” my teaching quad about his nickname. 

The next day, I started referring to him as Red. 
“How’d you know my name’s Red, miss?!” he exclaimed, clearly surprised. I’m just that awesome. Go me. Yay Ms. Wildes! 

A few more days go by and all of a sudden, it’s community night and what do you know?! Robert’s mom came. During our conversation, I referred to Robert as Red blatantly and intentionally. See ma’am, I know your son! I even know his nickname. I care. 

Flabbergasted, she looked my right in the eyes, “Oh lord, y’all calling him Red now too?” 

“They’ve been calling him Red ever since he was in the elementary school. The kids picked on him because he’s light skinned and his hair has that reddish color to it,” Ms. Robert’s mom began slowly, and softly. “I told him everyday when he came home crying, ‘You are not white! You are a black boy, don’t let those kids tell you any different just because your skin has less pigmentation than theirs?’ And so, for years, they’ve called him Red and I guess it’s just stuck”. 

Shit fuck fuckerface fuck. 

This name, this “nickname” that I “so kindly” called him because I was “building relationships” is something that originated from bullying and is something that was terrible for my student. I didn’t build a fucking relationship by mimicking the teasing of his peers, I potentially demolished a relationship. I didn’t seek to understand where his nickname came from, I just thought I was great for observing it. 

And the worst part, I never asked Robert how he felt about being called Red. 

The next day in class, I switched back to calling him Robert to “fix” my screw up. “Miss, why are you all of a sudden calling me Robert again?!” he protested, confused and probably frustrated. 

Cue the moment where I should have had a discussion with him about where his nickname came from and how that makes him feel. Instead, this is what happened. 

“Well, which name do you want to be called?” I inquired, curious and nervous all at once.

“Red”

Well ok… 

And the rest of the summer, I called that poor kid Red. 


In the middle of my multi-cultural, multi-ethnic affinity group, the horridness of my own actions and choices hit me in the face as hard a cement block. Balls. I fucking suck. 

And it was apparent. 

 

First of all, not happening.

20140721-184432-67472123.jpg

 

I would like to castrate the person with enough balls to think that I would EVER give my address or read any fucking letter of the one, the only, Dexter Dickwad. 

  1. I give no shits about your “closure”. No shits are given. 
  2. Your “closure” is never going to fucking happen, because you are inherently dishonest and manipulative and frankly: scary. That doesn’t go away. I’m not the last girl that you will pull bullshit with. 
  3. I will NEVVVVER give you access into my new and might I add fucking great  life that I have built here for myself. 
  4. Especially physical access by giving my ADDRESS. NOPE. NADA. NO WAY.  
  5. Get over it. 

This, officially, positively will be the last post I ever write in regards or pertaining to Dexter.

letitgo

18 Struggles Of Having An Outgoing Personality But Actually Being Shy And Introverted

Essentially the story of my life.

Thought Catalog

This… this is my soul song, people. This is my Vietnam.

1. You’re not anti-social, you’re selectively social.

2. At any given point, you have one (maybe two) best friends who are your entire life. You’re not a “group of friends” person. You can’t keep up with all that.

3. Social gatherings that are supposed to be “rites of passage” like prom and dances and other such typical nonsense is just… not for you. You don’t understand it. You want nothing to do with it.

4. When you do choose to grace a party with your presence, you are the life of it. You’re dancing on the table and doing body shots until 3 a.m.

5. … You then retreat into three days of complete solitude to recover.

6. You go out of your way to avoid people, but when you inevitably have to interact with them, you make it…

View original post 391 more words

The Data Doesn’t Tell The Whole Story

Data. 

A four letter word that carries a lot of weight. 

A summer’s worth of knowledge, learning, and self-worth mashed together and accumulated into tiny numbers in massive excel spreadsheets. 

My teaching quad has received some extra attention this summer because of our exceptionally low amount of student growth; our bad data

“What do you think students will say about themselves and about how confident they feel in math when walking into their math classes in the fall?” the ATF staff who works as the school manager inquired. It was far too late at night to be having this conversation, but it was essential. I didn’t think our data was that low, I pondered in my own thoughts. 

I didn’t know our data was this horrid, my kids definitely don’t know it either. 

“Cocky,” I spat my opinion before anyone else in my teaching quad could take a breathe. 

“Because they don’t know they are the lowest in terms of our ‘summer growth goal’. I didn’t know we were the lowest. They think they are awesome, amazing, hard working, and incredible because one, they are and because two, we tell them everyday,” I was met with a blank stare. 

“So I think they are going to go into their fall math classes cocky and I think even the quiet ones will be showing the whole class how to do stuff and raising their hands because they will leave our class confident”. 

The data is bad not because of a lack of effort. The data is bad because the content is challenging, we have students with IEPs that we cannot legally receive any information about because we are not yet certified, and because we are brand new, first-year teachers who honestly have improved vastly in three weeks yet still have a lot to learn. 

I’m not ok with having bad data. My teaching quad and myself are working our asses off to enable our kids succeed. But I do know that our bad data does not tell the stories of our kids. It does not tell the story of Tamara, who came in with a lack of basic math skills like adding fractions and negative numbers. It does not tell the story of Douglas, who fights through his ADHD as he stands at a podium in the corner of a room in an attempt to stay focused through 4 hours straight of Algebra a day. It doesn’t tell the story of Montoya, who wrote Buddy (one of the teachers in my quad) a letter about her suicide attempt in the 5th grade and the relentless bullying she faces every day when she walks into school. It doesn’t tell the story of John who wrote nothing down for the first two weeks, turned in every quiz blank, and who now, at the end of the third week, has some of the highest marks on my quizzes. 

Data doesn’t tell the whole story, but I still see its importance. I have to do better by my students so that they can tell at least a portion of their story through the data. 

Like I say every day in class, “If you believe in yourself half as much as I believe in you, you will change the world”. And I know they will. Even if they didn’t “grow” this summer. They still will. 

Did I just say “Our”?

A lot has been happening in the last month. 

And I mean a lot. 

But the other day, something exceptionally monumental occurred. It happened on a Tuesday. 

Kacey, a member of my teaching quad and I were walking from the Union (the place on campus where a lot of people write their lessons plans from around 7:00 pm until 1 in the morning) to the dining hall and talking about the general experience of a ATF org member. 

Fun. Exhausting. Eye opening. Hellish. Inspirational. Bonding. 

There’s so many ways to describe the experiences we have been collecting this summer. I’m not exactly sure how it came about, but we also starting talking about the experiences that other org members have had at their summer training in different parts of the nation. Their stories and experiences just didn’t seem as deeply impactful as our has been. 

“It would be so very different to not be in a rural area and to go through all of this in say, New York City,” I contributed. “But the people there probably wouldn’t enjoy the Delta, they might just not understand our community here”. 

I stopped. Dead in my tracks. 

That just kinda poured out and honestly, I was kind of worried I had just insulted Kacey seeing as though she is from the Delta herself and I literally just got here like, yesterday. 

“Look at me,” I broke the silence, “saying ‘our’ and all like I’ve been here forever” I added shyly. 

“You are from here now!” Kacey belted with joy and she gave be a loving pat on my shoulder. 

And y’all, she’s right. I consider myself a part of this community now and I love it! I want to be from here. I want to be a proud Mississippian. I want to love the Delta and love my students and love running into them and their families at the grocery store and love on a place that is so full of love already. 

I think I’m well on my way.