Bet You’re Looking Forward to That

BARBERSHOP flickr photo by michelle.boesch shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

The barbershop is and always will be a place where both customers and employees bare their souls. But sometimes it’s better to keep or mouths shut.

Taking a break from my #IMMOOC Buddy Blog with Tara Martin (@TaraMartinEDU) – stay tuned for that – I went to get a haircut. By the way, on Friday at 12:30pm in Queen Creek, AZ everyone is wanting a haircut. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. And while I waited, I played Pokemon Go and was excited to hear what new Gen2 Pokemon my students caught over Spring Break. It just one of the ways I connect with a handful of the 111 Knox Gifted Academy 5th graders.

After my name was called and I was summoned to the barber’s chair, the conversation went something like this:

Barber: “So what do you do?”

Me: “I’m a teacher.”

Barber: “Are you on break?”

Me: “I’ve been on break for nearly two weeks. I go back on Monday.”

Barber: “Bet you’re looking forward to that.”

Me: “Actually I am.”

Barber: “That sounds like work. I can’t stand working. Don’t get me wrong. I love the paycheck, just not the job.”

What’s not to get wrong about this statement? Here’s my takeaway from this conversation. If I ever start thinking, feeling, believing that being a teacher is less than a passion, that it becomes a job, it is time for me to go to barber college.

By the way, Team Valor FTW!



Al;ve #semicolonEDU #ProjectSemicolon

al;ve #semicolonEDU flickr photo by buistbunch shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

I’m alive. Not in the sense that I’m not dead. Although that is also true. I’m alive, as in full of life. And I owe it all to my wife.

She encouraged me to get a physical with a full battery of blood work. Turns out I had prostate cancer.

She encouraged me to inquire about medication for my moods. Turns out I have anxiety and suffer from depression.

She encouraged me to seek out therapy to help save our marriage. Turns out we’ll be married for another 18 years or more, assuming she’ll have me.

For the past ??? years, my mental health has been fragile at best. But Melissa has stood by me every step of the way. And all of her encouragement has finally paid off. I have made the decision to get help. To share my stories. To #stopfakingit, as my friend Joe Mazza writes. To not be ashamed to admit, as my friend Nicholas Provenzano writes in 2015.

I join a growing legion of educators who are telling our stories. I’ve joined the semicolonEDU Facebook Group. I’m following @ProjectSemicolon. I certainly don’t have all the answers, nor do I know all the questions. But I will listen. So don’t hesitate to reach out.

Remember, our story is not over.

What am I to my students? #IMMOOC #IMMOOCB2

Godspeed Sir Edmund Hillary flickr photo by brewbooks shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

What am I to my students?

Am I a teacher? The sage on the stage?

Certainly not.

Am I a mentor? The guide on the side.


Am I an advisor? The meddler in the middle?

At times.

What am I to my students?

I’m a sherpa.

I do the heavy lifting at the beginning of the climb.

I lead. I guide. I inform. I steer.

And then I let go.

What am I to my students?

I hope anything they need me to be.

What happens when we start with the answers? #IMMOOC #IMMOOCB1

Long ago, we started with information and asked our students to regurgitate it. Then we began asking questions and even expected our students to ask questions. Let’s fast forward to 2017 – oh wait, it is 2017 – and teachers started with the answers and asked students to analyze and evaluate the questions. 

Is this an innovative practice? Is this an obvious iteration? Does it serve a purpose? Is it doing something different AND better?