Picking Favorites (mostly about reading and teaching)

March 18, 2017



“I just thought maybe if they read these books, it will make an impression on them, and they will stand up for people who are being oppressed,” she added. — Teenagers Who Vandalized Historic Black Schoolhouse Are Ordered to Read Books

“Teaching is relentless. It happens every day, several times a week—or potentially 24/7 if it’s online. And it’s demanding. There’s so much more than the actual teaching. There’s considerable planning involved before each class. Plus, we need to spend time with students—those who want to talk, those needing help, and those with questions or, sometimes, complaints. There are assignments to grade and feedback to provide—all carrying the expectation of a quick turnaround. With multiple courses to teach, we do get tired, but I think we regularly confuse physical fatigue with the more serious emotional tiredness that comes from a heavy workload of always being there, always giving, and always juggling multiple balls in the air.” — Waking Up to Tired Teaching

“I don’t think there’s any such thing as a crisis in black education. There is an educational justice crisis. Schools are just mirrors of our society, and when communities of color are deliberately gutted of their public services, jobs, housing, and health care, these human beings who are the most vulnerable in society become trapped by economic and racial isolation. We have a series of failing and interdependent systems: Educational justice is connected to economic justice, racial justice, environmental justice, religious justice, queer justice, citizenship justice, and disability justice.” — Dr. Bettina Love

“I need to do better to honor my art as a form of activism. If you’re in the same situation, I hope you, too, will remember that writing and reading books–especially inclusive books–is a valid way to fight back.” — On Writing and Activism by Heidi Heilig

Sylvie is doing a series of posts on awesome women for Women’s History Month and her first post is about badass women pilots.

“The hard part, I have to admit, is choosing the perfect comfort read. As a bookseller turned librarian, I am literally surrounded by books–which, believe it or not, doesn’t make it any easier to choose what to read next!  And so I’ve developed a system for finding my own comfort read.” — How to Find Your Perfect Comfort Read

“Now, I feel like I’m reading more about books that haven’t been released yet than books that exist. And worse, there’s now the pressure to preorder these books. Preorder a book from an author I’ve never read! Preorder a book I only know the blurb of! The nerve!” — Frontlist Fatigue; Or, No, I Won’t Preorder Your Book

“I was searching for remedies to writer’s block on YouTube when I found a video of Toni Morrison talking about the white gaze — the assumption that the reader is white and the resulting self-consciousness in your thinking and writing. Stories you know to be true and interesting somehow become distorted and unfamiliar. I’d try to write a scene about two kids trying to dine-and-dash, something I’d done, and stop to wonder if I was playing into narratives about ‘black criminality.’ I’d try to write a scene about a kid getting into a fight, something else I’d done, and feel like I was fueling ideas about ‘black-on-black violence.'” — Writing Past The White Gaze As A Black Author (I can relate to this so hard, especially after having gone through an MA in creative writing program.)

“I am an engineer, and I was never trained to teach. This fact seems to be very common for many STEM careers. We get a Ph.D. in engineering, and it is assumed that we are competent to execute well as teachers. Sure- ‘if she can calculate the cost of running a power plant when changing process constraints, then she can certainly teach process design.’ Um, not necessarily.” — From Engineer to Engineering Educator

“If you’re losing hope, do more before giving up. In my own life, I’ve noticed an anecdotal relationship between engagement and hope, and between disengagement and despair. I don’t know if it is causal or correlative but I have found that the people who have the most hope are also the ones most engaged (in fighting poverty, sickness, inequality, injustice both here in the US and abroad), and the the most cynical ones are the ones who are distant and disengaged.” — Despair is Not a Strategy: 15 principles of hope

Cheerios is giving away free wildflower seeds to help restore the bee population. Did you know bumblebees are an endangered species?

EDITED TO ADD: Er, probably don’t plant those Cheerios seeds: “Bee populations are in decline, and Cheerios wants to help. So far, so good. But they are sending free packets of wildflower seeds to people all over the country—and some of the flowers included are invasive species that, in some areas, you should probably not plant.”

There’s going to be a Clueless comic book. That is all. And by “all,” I mean “everything.”

“You can start advocating on a local level by reaching out to your local public television and radio stations, to your state humanities councils (here’s a list), and to your local arts organizations (here’s another list) to see how you can help beyond financial support (which they would, I’m sure, also appreciate).” — To protect the arts and humanities, go local

“I don’t have any of these ingredients at home. Could you rewrite this based on the food I do have in my house? I’m not going to tell you what food I have. You have to guess.” — I was reminded of this gem by Kim’s post on a similar topic

“We know and understand this about victims of other kinds of trauma. Try to imagine reading this passage with a different kind of suffering substituted for orphans. It would never be published. We don’t find it acceptable to make jokes about sexual violence. We don’t think it’s okay to use physical abuse as a metaphor. When those things happen in children’s books, they’re treated with the gravity and respect they deserve. It’s hard to imagine a more traumatic early childhood experience than losing your birth family, and yet we think nothing of cracking jokes about it and making it the origin story for every single character in fantasy literature.” — Dear Authors, Please Stop Using Orphans as Metaphors

“A lot of them didn’t see themselves as I’d written the story. Many of them wept. They thanked me for showing them who they were in those relationships. “Crystal” said, “I had no idea my story sounded like a Lifetime movie,” which is astounding to me. “Thom”’s wife realized it after Thom died and she found herself in therapy. Through counseling, she understood exactly how she’d ended up married to him and how she’d given away her power little by little, eventually leaving her with nothing, not even a husband.” — K.E. Garland on her book The Unhappy Wife

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  1. Elisabeth Ellington

    Thanks for sharing my post here! And also, now I have like 10 more things I need to read today and I just can’t read anymore!!

  2. Brian Rozinsky

    The Love and Heilig quotes, back-to-back, knocked me down and helped me back up.

  3. Kristi Lonheim (@lonheim)

    That’s a ton of links. Are these all things you read Saturday? What do you use to gather your collection?

    • Akilah

      No, they’re things I’ve read over time. I save them all in Evernote and post them once I have a bunch (or when I remember).

  4. Classroom Liner Notes

    Do you do these lists all the time?! They are fantastic!! Such good reading here. Thank you!

    • Akilah

      About once or twice a month, yes. And thank you!


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