One Sentence #3: Untangled

One Sentence #3: Untangled

Here’s a quote from Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour:

Discipline should always come with the opportunity to make things right again.

As the title suggests, Untangled is all about supporting girls as they develop into adults. A girl who is contending with adult authority, one of Damour’s seven transitions, might disregard an adult’s instructions and do something inappropriate. A correct response will, of course, involve some sort of discipline, but the discipline needs to be more than simply punishment. It needs to include a learning opportunity, a chance to correct a mistake and grow.

I really enjoyed Untangled. Damour’s perspective as a clinical psychologist who works with teenage girls helped me think about my students in a different way. I look forward to applying new ideas and insights in my future work with my students.

One Sentence #2: Friday Black

One Sentence #2: Friday Black

It’s been a few months since I read Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. I picked it up because I was looking for a collection of short stories by a Black author that would be appropriate for middle schoolers. This is NOT that collection. Here’s why:

The court had ruled that because the children were basically loitering and not actually inside the library reading, as one might expect of productive members of society, it was reasonable that Dunn had felt threatened by these five black young people and, thus, he was well within his rights when he protected himself, his library-loaned DVDs, and his children by going into the back of his Ford F-150 and retrieving his Hawtech PRO eighteen-inch 48cc chain saw.

The chainsaw was to cut their heads off. Seriously. This first story (“The Finkelstein 5”) left me feeling sick, not so much because of its violence, but because of how horrifyingly plausible it felt. Brutally intense, powerful, and necessary, the stories in Friday Black speak to the horrific violence that Black Americans face every day.

One Sentence: Ijeoma Oluo

One Sentence: Ijeoma Oluo

I recently read So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo, and the following sentence stood out as one that encapsulates much of Oluo’s message throughout the book:

Even if we were to flip a switch today and end all racism and racial oppression, millions of people of color would still be disadvantaged by racial oppression of yesterday, and that would need to be addressed with policies like affirmative action that seek to replace opportunities previously denied unless we feel like leaving an entire generation in the dust and hope that their children will be able to rise from those ashes.

In the past month or two, I’ve seen quite a few people say “being nice isn’t enough.” It’s not enough to simply eliminate overtly prejudiced statements and actions. We won’t have justice or equity unless we work to right the wrongs of the past, to provide people of color what they have been refused for so long.

this is how I feel

it’s dark or it’s not dark
i can’t really tell
i’m awake or i’m not awake
i’m not really sure

i don’t know what happened to time
it probably still exists but it has lost all meaning
when do i work when do i eat when do i sleep

the sun is around some days
but i’m inside always inside never outside
i could go outside but where do i find the energy to get off this couch or out of this chair
i know i used to do these things
but how
it all seems like a distant memory

i’m healthy or at least as healthy as i can be
i know people are struggling with illness and hunger and so many things right now
i have it good
but i don’t feel alive

is this life now

for how long for how long do i pretend do i have to pretend that i’m okay
that i feel okay
that i can live like this
that things can be kind of sort of normal

and it’s not normal
it’s crisis emergency disaster unprecedented
and and and
and it’s not normal

but how many days nights weeks months before this becomes normal
or at least feels normal
or like something i can do or survive or make it through or oh gosh

it’s not dark or light or morning or night
it’s gray just always gray inside and outside and all around me


please let me go back to the way it was before