Some call me "Flem"

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I'm a passionate, purpose-driven, public school teacher! Period.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I taught the kid who...

A little edu-nightcap-
Every time I watch the news and hear of some problem or another, I comment, "I taught the kid who will come up with that solution!"

Be it a deadly virus outbreak, some catostrophe to which a solution for avoiding it has yet to be discovered, or the next "big thing" in technology, I taught the kid who'll come up with the solution!

Who? Take your pick!

Monday, July 28, 2014

I met @TheJLV today!

I just arrived home from two events. The second event was a book talk/conversation held at an independent book seller on South Street here in Philly. It was there that I met social justice/public education activist Jose Luis Vilson out of New York.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been in the company of a great, sincere, and unashamedly vocal opponent of much of the school "deform" craze, taking this country by the throat, choking the life out of kids, teachers, schools, and communities and calling it good for us (but many of their kids aren't subject to the same "goodies", hmm).

I'm looking forward to reading his book, This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education.

What I appreciated most about what I heard tonight was his focus on "the classroom" and on pedagogy. We're activists, yes. But the adult and the "30, 60, 90, 150 students" (as he put it, and is true) we see daily in the confounds of room...ahem...105, or where is starts! The policies, the politics, the philanthropy or lack thereof, the diminishing funds, and all of the other "stuff" has some (a lot, depending on the teacher) impact on the daily goings-on inside of each and every public school classroom.

I heard him mention shielding our students from the madness; a thought and belief to which I do my level best to adhere!

When the question was asked from a teacher-activist, what should we focus on? Coupled with, "how do we decide what to focus on?" given that there are so many fires in Philly to put out (school closings, mass layoffs, underfunding, lack of nurses/counselors, etc. etc. etc.). His reply? "Bring it back to the classroom." Not making our students these mini-activists, but rather focus on teaching and learning, from there build the conversations and organize.

So many great things said tonight. While I follow him on twitter, read his tweets and have read some blog posts, I look forward to the book and catching up on all of his online work that I haven't read yet.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Out of control!!

I can't right now! This little boy is dead as a result of a "baby daddy" who shot and killed him. He was celebrating his 5th birthday if I'm not mistaken!This same fool shot the mother of his child before turning the gun on himself! WHY for the love of all things sacred are these KIDS being killed left and right in this region!?!?

Not again!

Dear Keiearra, Thomas, and Terrence,
I really am at a lost for words! No words can describe the pain and the anguish your family and this city is experiencing right now! No words can describe the agony of your friends and classmates who won't see you for another "First Day of School". Unfortunately, the teacher won't be calling your names for you to say "here". Instead, in terms of walking, talking, and laughing with your friends in the classroom and school yard, you're "absent" and that makes a whole lot of us sad! Where you exist and forever will exist is in the hearts and memories of those who knew you!

Those guys who stole a car, then lost control, hit you all and ran, they are the jerks and cowards! Instead of working hard to get what they want out of life like y'all did, they decided they'd rather take from people! They took a car, but most importantly, they took you guys away from us and that's not cool at all yo! Real rap! IT'S NOT COOL!!!!! They took!!! They took!!! They took!!!! They took y'all away from your mother, your friends, your family, your neighborhood, your school, your future!!! Those scumbags took from us!!

Don't worry though! We've got some good detectives and prosecutors out there! I hope they take their freedom, if not more than that for taking y'all away from us!

Tonight I prayed. I prayed that all of this nonsense would stop! When I prayed, I cried tonight, thinking about you.

Rest Well Dear Hearts!

~Mr. Steve

Friday, July 25, 2014

Can I PLEASE just read an article without...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Our faces!

I'm getting increasingly sick and tired of seeing the faces of black men constantly plastered across the television for this crime or that incident! I'm not necessarily coming at the media, per se, but rather the accused!

Stop the madness already! Many already have a perception of us and this doesn't help! Although most alleged and accused criminals of any race are innocent until proven guilty, I tend to think the opposite is true for men and boys of color!

Monday, July 21, 2014

For selling loosies though?

Very late Saturday night I heard about the misfortune that came upon a New York City man who was being "investigated" for selling loosies. What are loosies, you say? Well for those who are that removed from urban life and lexicon, they are individual cigarettes that individual people (and almost every single corner store and Chinese store in every major city) re-sells to enlarge the profit margin they want to receive per pack of cigarettes. In some circles similar actions are called tax loop holes, but that's none of my business!

So, if I heard and saw  correctly, this Mr. Garner, who "just so happened to be black" (what critics to the black communitiy's outcry might say) was being bothered by the New York City police for selling loosies. The next thing you know, he was being choke-holded and wrestled to the ground. Within an hour he was dead. From a heart attack. Late Sunday, the news reported that EMS workers were disciplined for not perfroming CPR as he lay on the ground, not breathing (I reckon from being choked). In their defense, maybe he just so happen to have had DNR papers in his wallet, along with the profits from the loosies! O_o

There are many who would claim that the outcry from the black community over such atrocities are exaggerated. While I could go into a whole dissertation, with several examples and cases, defending our response, I won't. All I will ask is this, do you know what it feels like to be a black man in America? Do you know tha anguish of a young black mother whenever her young black son leaves the house every morning?

{Waits for reply}