Keep your receipts.

Poem by Anna Gilmore Heezen, illustrated by Chris Riddell

Many teachers are writing deeply reflective work now, but I am not one of them.

This past week I’ve been waking up around 4:15AM, and then dropping off to sleep earlier and earlier. Still drinking water, taking my vitamins, and trying to breath, but my body revolts. But my brain surges in the witching hour, (which is not midnight, but between 3 and 4 AM).

It’s almost the end of first quarter. My teaching practice and energy has been spent on what I predicted last spring, but struggled with how to prepare. I write notes, letters, send packages, and even went on home visits. But still students, home with large and small families, who struggled with depression, anxiety, and trauma, cannot seem to find the invisible bridge to online school–it’s hidden in a fog, the mist of sorrow.

And I’m not trying to bum you out, I promise. I’m not. But playing on repeat in my head is that so much of this was going on before the pandemic, and now it’s just magnified. Students and teachers struggled to connect with one another: I don’t mean building relationships, or students not knowing that many adults cared about them and their well-being, but the kinds of generational connections to curiosity, satisfaction, and purpose. The ikigai of life. They didn’t put down their cell phones because that world was consistently far more entertaining and dopamine inducing than anything a teacher could say.

But considering some of the spreading of misinformation by teachers on social media now, why would our students trust us with their critical thinking skills? Even educators I respect(ed) and trust are sharing fake news about the new health curriculum in Washington State, and a few even posted that “Zuckerberg won’t allow the Lord’s Prayer” — twice. TWICE. Even after I told them this was false. And I didn’t even begin to get into the antisemitic piece about that lie.

Maybe — just this — please, teachers –don’t make things worse. Don’t exacerbate this situation by spreading lies, rumors, half-truths, and any fear mongering story.

There is no war on religion. There is a war on intellectualism and critical thinking skills.

There is not war on on white people. There is deeply rooted racism in our nation. And no, there is no such thing as reverse racism, as a few white women teachers tried to contend in a recent thread.

I’m asking folks to have a little less Dunning-Kruger and a little more skepticism and questioning.

Please.

And stop spending and spreading the lies so quickly. Save and keep the truth.

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