Friday, November 18, 2016


This year has been one of the most challenging I've ever had. I'm a privileged being, but I'm obviously operating in a world I didn't see coming and that I didn't really know existed. All the things I care deeply about -- children, public education, equity, diversity, social justice, freedom of speech -- seem not just to be discounted, but actively fought against. It's dispiriting, to say the least.

I'm grappling to redefine myself since I've lost my street cred as a practitioner. I have incredible students, doing important work, but I'm feeling more and more like my job is to buoy their spirits in addition to educating and enculturating them as school librarians. There are practical considerations as well as philosophical ones. I spent a month doing work around ESSA, only to hear from my state department of education that things related to that implementation were on indefinite hold, post-election. I'm at NCTE, but library-less, so my ALAN box will go to one of my students. It is more philanthropic and abstract, and a lot less fun than pressing just-right books into students' hands.

Maybe things are ripe for backlash. Maybe we will end up investing heavily in the arts and humanities, in creating social and cultural supports. Whatever the answer is, I am going to have to push beyond my comfortable affirmative bubble that cosseted me this far. I have to confront my own fears, and the bile in my throat, to be a force for the positive. But I only have so much time, energy, and money to expend, and to what ends?

This is a journey, with some trying detours. but imagine how wonderful it will feel to finally put your foot down heavy on the accelerator, or better yet, set the cruise control. These potholes are only temporary, right? But I don't think the answer is privatizing the roads.