Reflection: Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair

As part of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s Urban Education Program, I was required to attend the Teachers for Social Justice Curriculum Fair (TSJCF): which took place Nov.21st at Kenwood high school on the South side of Chicago. This was my first time attending TSJCF but it certainly won’t be my last.

This year marked the 14th annual TSJCF put on by Teachers for Social Justice, an organization for educators of all kinds (ex. teachers, administrators, pre-service teachers, alt ed teachers, professors, etc) who believe in social justice education. Continue reading


Student teaching midpoint

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Those of you who know me know that I am student teaching in Chicago this semester. While I go to Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa I am to student-teach in Chicago through ACM’s Urban Education program. Getting into this program was a dream I had since I was a freshman in college and I’ve been lucky to have been given an incredible placement.

I teach English 4 regular (high school seniors) at a school on the South side of Chicago. My department team is full of experienced and helpful people. And most importantly my mentor teacher gives me the help and freedom I need to grow as a teacher.

In my head, I planned on blogging every 1-2 weeks about my teaching experiences but between all the lesson planning, grading, weekly reflections, anxiety, sleep deprivation, and general unwillingness to make time it.. not much has been shared. Now that I’m over halfway through with my student teaching (5 weeks left!) I figured now would be a good time to reflect on some things in a more public setting. Here are some big picture take-aways from my time student teaching: Continue reading

Comic Close-up #3 pt. 2: Saga, analytical nerd out

As promised, here is part 2 of my Comic Close-up for Saga. The simple description of Saga would be race war in outerspace… + some magic. But for a more nuanced description: Saga is about the futility, but perhaps inevitability, of war. As much as Marko and Alana want to live a peaceful and quiet life, raising their daughter Hazel, their pursuit of that life has led to the death of many.

Never have I been so moved and mentally engaged by a comic. Hazel’s wise narration, which I mention in my previous blog post, literally shifts my perspectives on life.

Here’s one of many quotations that I’ll be carrying with me (from Saga Volume 5):

“Every relationship is an education. Each new person we welcome into our hearts is a chance to evolve into something radically different than we used to be. But what happens when those people disappear from our lives? […] There’s no graduating from this kind of education, couples just keep growing and changing until they either break up or die.” –Hazel

But all of you already know I love Saga and why I love Saga. So to make this post a little different I’m going to do a quick look at Saga Book One and then examine the motifs of the series.  Continue reading

Comic Close-up #3 : Saga (pt. 1)

250px-Saga1coverByFionaStaplesSeptember 15th marks the release of Saga Volume 5, and so, a post seemed fitting. Saga is my absolute favorite comic book. The pending release of volume 5 drove me to purchase Saga Book One, the deluxe hardcover edition, and give the series a thorough and much-needed reread. Naturally, rereading the series left me with a lot to say but I wanted to create a post for those of you have never read Saga.

Consider this the Deluxe Edition of Comic Close-Up: Part 1 (this post): traditional comic close-up geared towards those of you who aren’t familiar with the franchise. Part 2 (coming soon): What I got from (re)reading Saga Book One but mostly just a polished nerd-out about my feelings towards the franchise. And now that the logistics are out of the way, let’s get to it…


Saga is written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples, and published by Image Comics. Saga was first described to me as “racial conflict, with space and magic.” And that’s precisely what it is: the story of two (now ex-) soldiers [Alana and Marko] from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Together, they are desperately trying to keep their newborn girl alive as the government/bounty hunters pursue them. Continue reading

Comic Close-Up #2: Ex Machina Volume I: The First Hundred Days

Earlier this year, I walked into Graham Cracker Comics (downtown Chicago) and said “What do you recommend for someone who likes Saga?” From there I was walked around by one of their friendly and knowledgable employees–an old man whose name escapes me at the moment. He showed me a lot of comics: such as Deadly class, Revival, Lock and Key, Rachel Rising etc. But I decided to go with another one of his suggestions, a comic with the same author as Saga… Ex Machina written by Brian K. Vaughan, penciled by Tony Harris, inked by Tom Feister, and colored by JD Mettler.


2500_400x600Ex Machina is a 50 issue comic book series, published by DC Comics under Wildstorm imprint from 2004 to 2010. Volume I: The First Hundred Days, which I will be discussing here, consists of 5 issues. If you become interested in the series, you can also purchase the Deluxe Edition books (10 issues in each, 5 books total).

Ex Machina is about the world’s first and only superhero, Mitchell Hundred: a civil engineer turned superhero (a freak incident gave him the power to communicate with/command mechanical devices) turned politician (after a short-lived, failed career as a superhero). When I was told the premise of this comic, I was a little skeptical. A comic book about Mitchell Hundred… as mayor of NYC? But I trusted Brian K. Vaughan and the old man working at the comic book store, so I went for it. And I was right to do so. Continue reading

Where I’ve been the last 2 months

Sorry for the disappearance, but I’m back! As usual: a big thank you to everyone who has supported my blog (both in-person and online through kind words, thoughtful comments, viewership, shares, and likes). I was happy and proud to see traffic remain consistent even when I, as a writer, was not.

Typically, my posts are polished thoughts: reviews, advice, personal-reflection, or social commentary. But this one will be different. A window into my life, not for a take-away lesson but a courtesy… an explanation as to where I’ve been these two months.  Continue reading

Kyle Smith’s “Women are not capable of understanding Goodfellas” article offends me as a Feminist and even more as an English Major

MV5BMTY2OTE5MzQ3MV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTY2NTYxMTE@._V1_For those of you who don’t know, Goodfellas just might be my favorite movie of all time. Bad day? Goodfellas will cheer me up. Good day? Goodfellas. Now it’s a great day. If you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this and go watch it. In short, it’s a gangster film directed by Martin Scorsese. And God, what’s not to love? The narration style provided by Henry Hill and Karen Hill is a joy–a beautiful mix of hope, nostalgia, justification, and honesty. The movie is funny,interesting, extravagant, and the cinematography is to die for (famous tracking shot anyone?). And the soundtrack… I listen to it constantly. Okay. Goodfellas is my favorite movie of all time. So when I saw  it trending on twitter I was excited to retweet quotes and screenshots from fellow fans. But those hopes were quickly crushed when I saw what all the Goodfellas fuss was about:

A controversial post made New York Post critic Kyle Smith entitled, Women are not capable of understanding ‘GoodFellas’.

The title of this post is perfect because its “an absolute”–a hallmark of any flawed argument. Continue reading