January 5, 2022

Julie Holderbaum: A Typical Teacher’s Brain in an American Public High School on Any Given Day

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Teacher Julie Holderbaum created this post that tries to capture all the questions running through a teacher’s mind in just one day.

Is Michael acting off today? Is he tired or just depressed? Should I pull him out into the hall and ask him if he’s okay or would it be worse to draw attention to him? Should I call home? Have his grades been slipping? Did he do the assignment that was due for me today?

Does Becky have her cell phone in her lap? Why isn’t it in the slot with the others? Is it worth calling her out on it? Right now or later, privately? Either way, do I want to risk setting her off when she’s been doing so well and we seem to be forging a tentative relationship? Is it a big deal if she isn’t actually using it? Has she been using it and I just haven’t seen it happen?

Why isn’t the Chromecast working? Why would it work last period and not this period? Is the internet down?

Why are we either freezing or frying? Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to regulate the heat in our own rooms?

Will I be accused of teaching divisive concepts if I lead a discussion about why we are not going to say the N word out loud when we read Of Mice and Men? Will the kids go home and tell their parents what we talked about? Do kids still do that? Do parents still ask? Is this book worth the battle it might lead to or should I just teach Fahrenheit 451 instead? Wouldn’t that be ironic? Isn’t this exactly what those who scream about CRT being taught want? For teachers to fear the repercussions and give in to temptation to just teach “safe” material instead? So that the status quo will keep on keeping on and generations of kids will continue to grow up in the dark about so much of the ugly side of America’s history? Is it worth the fight this might bring? Well, it’s obviously worth the fight, but am I mentally and emotionally up for this battle, this year especially?

More importantly, will my black students be uncomfortable if their white teacher leads this discussion in class? I know enough not to ask a Black student to speak on behalf of an entire race, but would it be okay to privately ask a Black student how they would feel about this book or that sort of discussion?

There’s more–read the entire post here.

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