Writing has fueled me for many years. During the pandemic, I’ve found this to be even more true. While struggling to navigate the blurring existence of teacherhood, writing has allowed me to slow things down. It’s given me the opportunity to think and feel.
That said, 2021 was a busy year for my writing. I was processing a lot, and with practically all of my writing is housed here on my blog, its seemed like lazyocho.com was perpetually open in my browser. Hitting “Publish” was my way of heading for the hills, bottling up who I am as a teacher, and holding myself accountable. WordPress reports that I wrote 47,739 words in 64 published posts in 2021. This is by far the most I’ve written in the 7 years I’ve maintained this blog. As I usher in 2022, here’s a look back.
A good chunk of my writing came in the form of serial posts. I started doing these a few years ago and they’ve done wonders for my writing. They give me something big to focus on while adding continuity.
- My Two Cents was my attempt to document last school year using two sentences every day. I ended it in July by identifying some standouts from the series.
- Meditations on a Cogen is my ongoing effort to process the cogenerative dialogues (or cogens) I’m having with my students. In the coming year, I want to make an effort for these posts to be more succinct. They’re a lot.
- I added two posts to my Student Letter series, one in January and one in October. These letters are personal and always run close to my heart.
I love to read books, but don’t often write about them. This year, I did. Three times.
- The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
- Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics, Grades K-12: 14 Teaching Practices for Enhancing Learning by Peter Liljedahl
- Teaching Math with Examples by Michael Pershan
Remote learning has been the name of the game for the last couple of years. So much of what I wrote this year was influenced by it. Here are a few posts that capture some of what I experienced in 2021 and how I grappled with it.
- Group quizzes for remote learning was a post detailing how I rethought group assessments for life on Zoom.
- I wrote A week ago, one year later because it marked the anniversary of the onset of remote learning.
- Back in the building captured what it was like to be back in the school building after being kicked out (again) in December 2020 due to COVID.
- The great debate: cameras on or off was my take on whether or not students should have their cameras on during remote learning.
- At the end of last school year, I had a surprising takeaway. What I will miss about this school year helped me understand what it was.
- In my most recent bout with remote learning, I wrote Last year remote learning broke me, what will happen this time? after being dragged back to a place I never thought I would see again.
In person learning
The resurgence of in-person in the fall came with a lot of noticings and wondering.
- Sunrise was a burst of joy that I had to let out. Being back in person meant that I was a teacher again. I was reborn.
- Unexpectedly, I arrived at school every day with a heightened awareness of self, including my physical appearance. The post Teacher aesthetic was my reaction to these feelings.
- I wrote Reliving last school year, with joy after being reunited with my remote learning students in an actual classroom.
- Deprioritizing relationship building was a reminder that, despite challenging circumstances, I couldn’t settle into my new reality and downplay relationship building in the name of closing skill gaps that resulted from remote learning.
Odds and Ends
These are mainly random things that entered my heart and mind at some point during 2021.
- Thinking intentionally about compassion details how an episode of a podcast turned into me facilitating a workshop at a summer conference in July.
- The 1363 and Me Podcast is a post that summarizes a crazy idea I had for a staff podcast at my school and how a colleague and I made it happen.
- I might just consider my summer post, Teaching is all about relationships, a “breakthrough” because it changed how I view the dynamics of teaching and learning. I think Narratives in the classroom, published in February, was its precursor.
- When mathematician, scientist, and inventor Dr. Valerie L. Thomas visited my class in February, I had to write about it. The result was A Mathematician and Me.