Doing What's Necessary

In the midst of a pandemic, we do what's necessary to survive, of course. We take care of our loved ones, we hold them tight, and we keep them safe.

We also do what's necessary to get our work done as educators.

My theme for this week has been finding the essential. "Five Things" focuses on what's essential in our curriculum. (And it's a very open invitation to a conversation. The world wants to hear your voice! What do you find essential?)

The message, however, extends to so much more. Today, I was in a meeting with some teachers and several of us kept expressing amazement at how far we've fallen behind already. How many papers are still unmarked? How many tests ungraded? How many lesson plans unfinished?

I am one of these teachers too.

I'm writing this on a Friday afternoon, the end of a short week. (Thank you, Labor Day!) But I feel like I've been through the ringer. My to-do list doesn't look much smaller than it did when I started the day. But I'm going to head into this weekend and find some rest, find some way to turn off my teacher-brain for a few hours, and just be.

Remind yourself that each day we do what is necessary. Sometimes, it's necessary to burn the midnight oil. Sometimes, it's necessary to take a day off. Sometimes, it's necessary to avoid that stack of papers and stare at a wall for a while.

We'll be back at it on Monday, of course, tending to the soil and helping our students put down those roots.

But today, do what's necessary for you.

This Week on ROOTED

A recent conversation with some colleagues led me to think about what I really want to teach the young people in my charge. When I tried to create a list of the five things that I really found essential, I was surprised by some of them. Check out the article for more...

Five Things: What’s essential in your curriculum?
What’s essential in your class? If you could teach just five things this year, what would they be?

From Around the Web

This week's collection of links varies from the practical to the whimsical to the downright apocalyptic. Each of these links is worthy of your time and attention, but Astra Taylor's article in The New Republic is especially thought-provoking. Here's a taste:

As educational access has increased across the population, so too has economic inequality. The current system reflects and reinforces deeply entrenched disparities, strengthening the position of the already privileged. While color-blind in theory, in practice American higher education is a costly and convoluted system of affirmative action for affluent white people.

Taylor is less concerned with whether universities will survive the pandemic and more concerned with whether they should.

The End of the University
The pandemic should force America to remake higher education.
What is Necessary? with Jessyca Mathews
In this 20-minute interview Jessyca Mathews, recent Michigan Region 5 Teacher of the Year and a teacher-leader with the Red Cedar Writing Project, reflects on working with her students this past sprin
This teacher turned remote learning into a road trip: ‘What if I teach history from the places where it happened?’
“This is something I’d never be able to do in a normal school year,” says the teacher who hit up Gettysburg, D.C. and other significant sites.
How to Talk to Kids About Racism and Police
Schools do students a disservice when they fail to teach them about difficult issues.
Demonstrations & Political Violence in America: New Data for Summer 2020 | ACLED
The US Crisis Monitor collects real-time data on demonstrations and political violence across America.
Taking the Stress Out of Grading - Educational Leadership

Favorite Tweet This Week

It's so great to see that #TeachLivingPoets chat is back. Plus, look at all the other cool things that Melissa Smith is up to!