Dare to Care

construct, create, communicate, collaborate, and think critically

29/Jun/2019
by Denise Krebs
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Leading and Following

This post is week 3 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

How are you both a leader and a follower in your career?

Jesus said some important words about leadership and following. I will answer this question with his words first.

One time when the mother of two of his 12 disciples came to Jesus, along with said disciples. They asked if they could be his right- and left-hand men. Then this happened:

When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.” Matthew 20:25-28

Leaders should be servants. That means a lot of humility in dealing with people I’m leading. Though I am too proud, with the grace of God, I have become more and more a servant leader in my life, including my career life as an educator.

Another thing Jesus said is about following.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it…” Mark 8:34-35

Following Jesus is another priority in my life. Thankfully he helps me because denying myself is not a natural inclination.

Leading like Jesus and following Jesus have made me a better leader and follower.

20/Jun/2019
by Denise Krebs
4 Comments

Inviting Innovation

This post is week 2 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

Who or what experiences have built you up into the educator you are today?

Joy Kirr’s post is the first I read during Week 2 of the challenge. Her story is familiar to me, as I’ve heard her tell it before. It also runs parallel to my own story, which began at about the same time.

I had been teaching since 1984–sometimes to a group of grade 2, grade 3, grade 7, grade 8, as a reading specialist with small groups of children, or for ten years as a stay-at-home mom with my two daughters. I loved all my students and schools. I always felt I was out-of-the-box and looking for how to be better.

However, in late 2010, something switched for me. Two colleagues came back from the Iowa Technology Education Conference and told me that teachers were using Twitter. OK, I thought. So what. They continued telling me about the connections they made, the Web 2.0 tools they discovered, the people that inspired them. They told me enough that I got interested and began exploring with them.

One of my first tweets happened while I sat at a Digital Literacy conference with Angela Maiers. I was at a table with Erin OlsonStacy Brown, Brenda Ortmann, and Eileen Kinney listening to Angela’s challenging message. As you can see that uphill was a steep learning curve for me in more ways than one. I had to figure out the difference between # and @ on Twitter.

Angela Maiers was inspiring and challenging. Here is the post referred to in the tweet below. The people I met on Twitter enabled me to learn much more than I was used to learning. I began to read more books, read and write more blog posts, and I learned in a new and exciting way how to own my own learning, how to take responsibility for making a new way.

When I was searching for my first tweets, I also ran across this one I wrote in 2011 to Jee Young Kim. At that time, I was helping someone find resources to teach overseas. I myself had never been out of North America, but here I was saying, “Maybe someday I’ll be able to teach overseas!” What? I was sure I was making that up to be polite or make conversation. I had never had that thought before. But three years later I was doing just that!

I have now been teaching in Bahrain for six years. Thankfully, the things I learned from others and my commitment to innovation and improvement have not stopped.

I’m still connected with educators all over the world through Twitter.  Even though education is much more traditional here, we are still growing professionally at each turn. Soon we will have the third annual EdCampBahrain. We have quarterly TeachMeets and hashtags to share our learning in the Middle East (#bahrainedu, #edchatMENA)

Then today I humbly received one of my Principal’s Innovation Awards at our school for engaging my students with things like blogging, Pearls of Wisdom, and Genius Hour.

Life is sweet, and there is such joy in this journey. I am very thankful for those who taught me what I know and for those who continually teach and challenge me.

 

19/Jun/2019
by Denise Krebs
5 Comments

#8WeeksofSummer and I’ve Got a Lot to Accomplish

This post is week 1 of 8 in the 8 Weeks of Summer Blog Challenge for educators.

I have too much planned for this summer so I didn’t think I also had time to join Penny’s #8WeeksofSummer blogging challenge. However, I am going to give it a try.

My plans for this summer:

  1. I will finish my TESOL Advanced Certificate Program.
  2. I will do some work on my year plan and related resources for my grade 5 English learner class.
  3. I will read 8 children and young adult books, which is nourishment for my soul as a reading teacher.
  4. I will blog about my learning (and whatever else is in store for the #8WeeksofSummer challenge) at least 8 times.

My professional learning will be happening in two countries and in 3 U.S. states. I have my laptop, my Kindle, and my phone ready for action.

I’m already a week late, so I’ll leave it at this.

16/Mar/2019
by Denise Krebs
0 comments

Me and White Supremacy

We need to talk about white supremacy. Not in the “bad” people, but in our own white selves.

Let’s start today, not just in New Zealand. But in America or wherever we are.

White supremacy has been with us throughout our nation’s history.

Through slavery…leasing convicts…lynchings and other racial terrorism…Jim Crow…racial hierarchy…racial profiling…mass incarceration.

When I was a baby, Martin Luther King, Jr., pleaded with white moderates:  “If you fail to act now, history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

Why didn’t I talk about America’s wealth being built with the blood and sweat of enslaved black people?

Why didn’t I talk about “good” people standing by and watching?

Why didn’t I talk about anti-blackness and white supremacy?

With my parents?

With my friends?

With my own children?

Though I didn’t articulate I was better than black people, I don’t remember ever articulating I wasn’t.

There is no such thing as being colorblind when it comes to racism.

My silence was complicity. White silence. White apathy. White centering. White privilege.

Complicity in white supremacy.

I am white, and I need to own it.

I am white, and through my acceptance of America’s original sin, I am a white supremacist.

Now, I have work to do.

Thanks, Rachel, Bryan, Layla, Josie, Clint, Jen, Mike, Jillian, Myisha, Dr. King, and all the others who are inspiring the dismantling of racism.*

 

View this post on Instagram

 

🌿 take a moment today to consider how you show up.

A post shared by Rachel Elizabeth Cargle (@rachel.cargle) on


*More I’m Learning From

17 Inspirational Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr., About Speaking Up When it Matters

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Justice in America Podcast with Josie Duffy Rice and Clint Smith

Speaking of Racism Podcast with Jen Kinney

Instagram: @Rachel.Cargle, @Laylafsaad, @morethanmiked, @ckyourprivilege, @degan_art

12/Feb/2019
by Denise Krebs
0 comments

Silent No More

Her name was Gwen and she was 8 years old, a year younger than me. She knew exactly what she was doing when she snatched that wallet from the ground, ripped out the few dollars, and dropped the incriminating wallet into the nearest garbage can. Within moments, I saw another little girl crying, flanked by an adult who was helping her look for her dropped wallet.

Looking back after all these decades, I remember that scene as clearly as if it happened yesterday. I was paralyzed with sadness for the little girl crying without the money she needed for opening day at the ball field. I watched in disbelief that Gwen could ruthlessly take her money. I was dumbfounded–literally found dumb–I did not say a word. To anyone. Until now. It wasn’t that I was unable to speak; I was unwilling to speak. I also remember that I was sad for Gwen, and I was angry that she could so effortlessly carry out that bad idea. Had I found the wallet, I believe I would have happily turned it over to the crying girl, “Look, I found this! Is this what you’re looking for?”

Well, by God’s constant grace, I grew up to be mostly the I-found-this-how-can-I-help-you person, rather than the take-the-money-and-run person at the ballpark. However, I also grew up to be mostly not angry enough to speak up about injustices. The silent person who watched Gwen take that girl’s money without so much as uttering a peep was not sad and angry enough. Whatever I feared about speaking up was stronger than my sadness and anger over the injustice.

Today that story came to my memory. It reminded me of my complicity in white supremacy.

When I was born, Jim Crow was in full swing. Even in suburban L.A., we still did plenty of racist things–the words we used, the costumes we wore, the jokes we told, the fears we nursed, the near complete segregation of ball fields, schools, shops, neighborhoods, churches and everything else I frequented.

As laws were passed to give civil rights to people of color, my family slowly began to change. I tried to become one of the ‘good’ white people. I didn’t do blatantly racist things any more. I didn’t use racist words. I made friends with people who were bused into my school in 1974. (Finally…two decades after Brown v. Board of Education!) I tried to be the good and nice person who wouldn’t take a little girl’s wallet. The person who wouldn’t be racist. The person who would never be a white supremacist.

However, even as I tried to not to be racist, I knew deep down that me being a good person would never solve society’s problem.

I rejoiced with the country when Obama was elected. I was a 30-year independent voter who temporarily became a Democrat so I could caucus for Obama in Iowa. I didn’t pay too much attention to the hatred and vitriol with which some people viewed his election and presidency. I thought they were a racist minority that was gradually getting snuffed out and sent into the crevices of society.

Then the unthinkable happened and I finally noticed. The racist vitriol, among other factors and entities, elected trump to the presidency. OK. Then I began to get it. An individual’s “goodness” or “niceness” is really not enough. This was more urgent than I had ever realized.

Thanks to the writings of Layla Saad, I now have names for what I was doing as a ‘good’ white person.

White silence.
White exceptionalism.
White apathy.

“Here are a few examples of White Apathy in action:
• White Apathy shows up as laziness, tiredness, fear, boredom, numbness, perfectionism, turning away from the news, and other apathetic feelings and actions when it comes to engaging in anti-racism practice.
• White Apathy shows up when people have done very little anti-racism work, so they don’t understand just how urgent this work is.
• It shows up as White Silence, White Exceptionalism and inaction because of your attachment to the idea that you are a ‘good white person’.”

Me and White Supremacy Workbook, page 87, by Layla Saad

White privilege.

“I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was ‘meant’ to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, codebooks, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.”

From “White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women’s Studies” (1988), by Peggy McIntosh (You can read an excerpt by McIntosh, which includes 50 bits of daily privilege that people like me have for no reason except our skin color.)

White people, we are all complicit in keeping racism and white supremacy as strong as ever in our country.

Our institutional, systemic, toxic, and endemic racism needs dismantling.

It’s going to take education. This is black history month. Let’s get educated. We all need to stop justifying and start listening.

I don’t want to be silent anymore.

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