stopped posting videos because my classroom became my show. By winter 2019, I realized, my social media ratings were greater than my students’ results. Don’t get me wrong, this is not about standardized test data as a measure of growth. This is about my students not just reading words but deeply comprehending them enough to use texts as weapons against injustice. Yes, I went there. I still have the same agenda, to free minds, that I’ve had since the beginning. The lessons I was sharing were not impacting the literacy difficulties among students with ADHD, anxiety, and depression in my classroom. I was teaching but I was still not reaching my students with disabilities or moving them beyond the barriers keeping them from learning. 

Getting into a doctoral program came at the perfect time. It led me to begin asking why I was not successful in serving all of my students. As I found causes for adolescent illiteracy in urban districts in my research, I found statistics that revealed the stark reality that the literacy epidemic is not just in my school but rampant in my district, many other urban districts, districts in rural areas, and on Indigenous reservations. The more I learn, the more I want to do, right now, to impact change but I feel tied to a chair that I can not get out of until I finish school, my Nat Geo Cert, my Model portfolio, and National Board certification. My students need research based tools that all of these programs will afford me. 

The problem of practice is too urgent for me to give my viewers viral fillers. Educators who learn from me need tangible tools they can implement into their daily instruction. The tools I know, from my experience as an urban teacher, are not enough—if they were, my students with disabilities’ reading and writing data would be way higher. What has worked for some students who struggled with reading, does not work for my students who have issues with low-motivation and low-focus. 


Many of my students did not complete their homework, last night and those that did, did not do it correctly. People say homework is not useful. There’s science that actually backs this but I am not buying it, today. The purpose of completing homework, in my class, is not about compliance, it’s about showing an ability to independently master skills. My students will do anything when they are in front of me but go to their other classes and half-do writing assignments or go home and not do them at all. This is not about teacher expectations or parent support, this is about students holding themselves accountable to showing their growth toward mastery of a skill.. Why aren’t our students understanding the power of working on their own? Why do so many of them view homework as extra work, instead of growth work? It seems that this growth mindset is one that needs to be explicitly taught in all class settings and in their homes.

My next steps are to develop innovative ways to support students in completing reading tasks, independently. I will differentiate for my students, based on their abilities, interests, and readiness levels. I’m not quite sure how, yet, but I may be inspired tonight as I work on my Nat Geo Cert. 

i know my studies will lead me to deeper questions. I did not look for articles to align with this reflection, yet but when I do, I know I will find many new truths. It’s just a free-write based on my day...