1.01.2017

2016 Blog Round-Up

The reason I teach: Sharpies. 
As I mentioned in my last post, I have been focusing these past few months on submitting my work out into the world. This has been an excellent challenge for me, but it means I have published fewer words here. Still, I managed to post 20 times this year. Although this is quite a bit less than last year's 33, if I'd gotten ambitious and finished the year with 12 posts for Christmas, I would have been close to the same. I didn't do that, and that's okay. Twenty posts for the year it is.

My third most read post this year was the last of my 10 posts to start the school year: Why I Keep Teaching. It's about Sharpies, and teaching, and why I keep doing this impossible work in an urban public school. Almost 200 people read this blog, and that's about the number of students I interact with every school day, so I appreciate this symmetry, and I enjoyed taking some time to write about my teaching practice.
One of my favorite books from 2015. 

In second, with just one more read, was my first post of the year: The Only Three Books I Loved This Year. My book blog for 2016 is forthcoming, but this was a much better reading year than last. This might have been because I engaged in a #ReadDiverseLit challenge, although I only wrote about three such books (even though I read more), I loved just about every book I read. Maybe my brain is finally recovering from baby-rearing, or maybe I just like books about marginalized people better than others.

But my most read blog, the post that actually ran on Shannon Colleary's popular blog The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful, and on The Huffington Post, is my Culmination Address to the Class of 2016. I wrote this after the UCLA shooting that claimed the life of a professor on campus, and kept all of my eighth grade students and teachers in a lock-down on campus. It was the toughest day in my teaching career, and a day I will always remember. And delivering a culmination address was something I'd never had the opportunity to do before, so I thank Lily Parker, our Speech and Debate coach, for pushing me into this uncomfortable space.

Ah, the Class of 2016... a good one. 
I also wrote about my experience during Black History Month, which taught me so much about privilege and being an ally, and if I added the reads to this series together, it would have made my list, but then again so would my #ReadDiverseLit posts if I added those together, so I will leave it at that.

I have lots more to say. I'm not sure if I will say it all here this year. I think I will be posting quite a bit to start off 2017, but for now, 2016 is in the books.

It has not been an easy year, but I keep hearing the words of author Colson Whitehead, the National Book Award winning author of The Underground Railroad, in my head. This has been my mantra for the last few months and I will carry them, probably, forever.

"Be kind to everybody, make art, and fight the power." 


Yes. That is what I intend to do. Thanks for reading along with me, y'all, and happy New Year!

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