"Off The Wall"

The last time I maintained a blog, I was traveling in Europe and Israel, en route to a study abroad program. For me at that time, a blog was simply a more convenient way of communicating my travel tales, photos, and reflections than emailing. Yet, it was always a therapeutic exercise while traveling, albeit one that I struggled to maintain once I returned to the world of obligations. I suppose in some ways starting a blog now is an attempt to rediscover that same therapeutic space for reflection and discovery-after-the-fact. 

I was inspired to reengage my blogging faculties recently when I stumbled upon a blog created by a former FSU Department of Religion colleague, Thomas Whitley. In particular, I had a chance to read a piece he wrote titled "Why I Blog." The post was a departure from his usual commentary on technology, current events, and connections to the history of early Christianity. Thomas noted the importance of blogging not only for maintaining and curating his public image or "brand" (always on the mind of a PhD candidate looking to enter the job market), but for building connections and extending conversations across a variety of networks, not bound by geography.

I read a similar sentiment on a new blog created by my mentor and professor at Alverno College, Desiree Pointer-Mace, called Love Is A Superpower.  Like Thomas, she created her blog, in part, to maintain and extend the many interactions and conversation that come with being a mentor and educator for two decades. I can only hope my students return to ask me questions on this blog (or a future iteration) down the road. In the meantime, I too hope that my reflections here might be the starting point for a dialogue of some kind. 


The title I chose for this blog reflects an unfortunate reality of life as a novice educator. After years of being pushed to investigate and carefully construct my ideas and arguments with the diligence of a historian, I find myself easily fitting my most complex thoughts into a single Facebook post. There simply isn't much time (it often seems) for more than that. My hope is that simply having this space will give me reason to pause before posting a less than well-reasoned argument (or several) elsewhere, as well as a medium through which I can develop my own ideas more thoroughly. In other words, I'm seeking to pull myself "off the [facebook] wall" and into a space that is more conducive to critical reflection, study, and growth. 

My intention is to use this space to flesh out my own thoughts, first and foremost, on the practice and politics of education in the U.S. Being in Milwaukee - more precisely, being the son of an MEA (MTEA) employee and negotiator and working at a charter school in Milwaukee - has provided no shortage of engaging discussion, infuriating (and inspiring) observation, and identity crises. I'm hoping to bring some of that out here, while also sharing experiences from my own classroom as I continue to introduce computer science and programming to my elementary students and wrap up my time as a Teach For America corps member. 

Along the way, I'll likely post about other things as well: gardening and mentoring with We Got This! at 9th and Ring, learning computer programming and web design myself, working with the ACLU, or even adventures with my partner Rachel and our dog Ava (Baeba). 

Please feel free to comment, disagree, or ask questions.