I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Day 120 - Hope

After three days of trying to stay away from the media or news or... everything hitting us left and right, and after three days of dealing with a migraine and heartache, I am emerging today, I am fresh from my first haircut since February, and I'm choosing to focus today on HOPE.

I would think "It's amazing what a haircut can do for your outlook." Yes. I know this is true, but I also see signs everywhere - through the murk and distractions - through the politics and news - signs that I need to continue to have HOPE. It may sound corny, but a quote a friend shared with me on Facebook is back in my brain today -
"Do not succumb to discouragement." ~Sr Pastor Dr. Michael Eaddy

  • My students have been posting helpful links on Instagram (probably other social media, as well, but I'm only connected to them through Instagram). Posts about Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, atrocities across the nation (and how to help), clothing lines from which to steer clear, why voting for Kanye won't help, reasons WHY others should care about soooo many causes. 
  • Students in my area are signing petitions and attending school board meetings...
  • Commercials on television, ads on my phone games, and news broadcasters all show others wearing masks. This message is from Uber:
  • Artists are doing their thing - helping us see so many sides of the angst in the world. (Alicia Keys HERE)
  • Sports are trying to start up again - in bubbles. Athletes are understood when they say they're skipping the season to keep their families safe. My hope here is that teachers are provided grace when we say we, too, would like to keep our families safe.
  • Athletes are speaking out against injustice - with players in their own leagues, with owners, with sponsorships... I am seeing beautiful role models. My pick-me-up show is PTI - I suddenly follow sports way more than I used to. Thank you to ESPN for sharing how Dream reacted to this woman:
  • I'm seeing posts about what educators can do to stay safe if IL schools truly are to go back to the school building full time in a month. I'm also seeing that some schools are sharing ways to keep some students and educators safe through hybrid models.
  • Just under 50 participants in my district signed up for the book club I'm co-facilitating around So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo.
  • I had a two-hour talk with two other white women regarding race and the anti-racist LiveBinder yesterday. It, too, was promising. We had tons of questions and knew we'd mess up. Still, we kept the conversation going.

There is HOPE in this world. Some days it's hard to find through the pandemic, politics, killings, threats, arguments, slander and bullcrap. Today I am physically and mentally healthy enough to see it, notice it, name it, and share it.

PLEASE try to take the breaks you need. Please reach out to others when you need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. You are NOT alone. I'll be reaching out when needed, as well.

Oh, and a haircut may have done me some good, too...
 I'll never again not think of haircuts as a luxury.
Before - and - After

Updated 7/16/20 (Day 125):
  • My district has three book studies going on this summer to help educators and administrators keep the conversations going about equity.
  • The line above - means educators who were quiet on Twitter for a bit are becoming more vocal about their ideas about How to Be an Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. I have hope that this means they'll continue to use their platforms to share more widely with the world. If I don't see them on Twitter, I have hope that they'll become more comfortable sharing more publicly at some point. Their tweets from a district chat last night show me they believe it's important.
  • My district's superintendent is hosting tons of Zoom meetings in this week ahead to answer questions from all staff.
  • My mom and I had a great (Google Duo - like FaceTime) talk last night. We both cried, and yet we're learning more about how to talk to one another about the tough issues.
  • This thread from a doctor is so amazing, as it brings up so many OTHER issues I haven't really heard others share (yet).

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