When I ventured forth with this blog in April, 2015 I had no clue about what I was doing and what I was getting into. (Which some might say was nothing new for me.)
As explained here before, I am about the most tech illiterate person in the state. I still use a flip phone bought Lord knows how many years ago. It does not take pictures or turn on my washing machine. While it does receive text messages, if the response requires more than one word I am out of luck. I got my first ever electric pencil sharpener a year ago. (And discovered that it really is better than a hand-cranked one.)
So with the aid of my faithful assistant Deb Geiger in Spanish Fort I set out to offer my bits and dabs of info on social media. And though the great majority of my posts deal with education, especially here in Alabama, some don’t. (Like the one about my July 2, 2006 to Betty’s Place in east Mississippi.)
I have been delighted at the response I’ve gotten. Actually amazed is a better word.
According to the little gadget on Word Press that tracks such, this blog has now had 500,000 “hits” since it began. Now I’m hardly in the league with my friend Diane Ravitch in NYC who gets 100,000 views per week and counts her totals in the millions, but I am proud of each and every one of the looks the blog has received.
Every thing posted here is also automatically posted on both Facebook and Twitter. For every “hit” the blog gets, there are two to three “people reached” on Facebook. Since I have no idea where Twitter is or what it does, I can’t give a report about it..
There have now been about 700 posts here. On average I probably spend two hours on each. Which means I’ve devoted about 35, 40-hour weeks to posting since I began. Yikes.
I enjoy the comments and feedback I get. And sure, it is gratifying when a stranger tells you they keep up with the blog. Probably the most common refrain is something like this from an educator, “You say the things I wish I had the freedom to say.”
I work hard to tell the truth and to dig up facts. And while there are more than a few who take issue with me, they are rarely educators and seldom care to know how educators feel or about the challenges they face.
And let me interject that while long ago I earned a paycheck sitting at a typewriter and writing (yes, there used to be things called typewriters) I was more reporter then than now. This blog is mine. I am an advocate for public education and this is where I do it. I attempt to tell the stories that often don’t get told. No one pays me to do this or whispers in my ear about what I should, or should not, write about. (However, anyone who wishes to donate to the cause can do so at the PayPal button at the top of this page and know that it will buy some gas to go visit another school.)
The last 12 months have been a colossal mess for Alabama’s public schools, their administrators, teachers and students. Way too many decisions have been driven by political agendas instead of student agendas. This is unfortunate. We have wasted a tremendous amount of effort and resources immersed in issues that should never have occurred.
I do not enjoy writing about all of this junk. But neither do I think the 730,000 public school students in Alabama should be abandoned to better someone’s political future or we should continue to destroy the morale of educators as happens every day. So I will keep peeling this onion to find out what is going on.
I have mentioned my young friend Teawrie Hudson in Mobile before. I met her in March, 2010 when I spend the day as a teacher’s aide in her pre-K classroom at George Hall elementary in inner-city Mobile. She was very smart and very shy and loved to read. Since then I have given her a number of books. She just finished the 5th grade at Craighead elementary.
Education is Teawrie’s hope, perhaps her only one.
And I will continue to battle for her.
God bless each and every one of you who have joined me in this effort.