On January 11, 2019, my friend Kate Shrum died of cancer. When she publicly shared her diagnosis at the beginning of August 2018, I reached out to her with an encouraging message and no doubt in my mind that she would kick cancer's ass. Less than 6 months later, she was gone. Kate and I… Continue reading With Gratitude Always – A Ritual in Honor of Kate Shrum
Magic that reminds you of childhood is a potion. It is a calling to a piece of your soul that can easily slip away in adulthood. It is spell satchels buried in earth and choreographed dances to Ace of Base. It is eating raw cookie dough and driving nowhere in particular. When I stumble upon… Continue reading Enchantment in “Adulthood”
During my lunch hour, Senna, a senior in my Literature and Composition class, came up to my desk on the verge of tears. “Ms. Fitz, can we talk about my portfolio?” I noticed that something wrong right away and asked her to walk and talk as we headed away from the busy teacher cluster to… Continue reading Bravery, Mistakes, and Healing
If I teach students that current events and issues are immediate and very present here in Oregon, if I support them in seeing their own lives reflected in everything going on “out there,” I hope they won’t feel so overwhelmed by it all. Our racial justice unit asks students to examine texts such as the documentary “13th,” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me,” Kehinde Wiley paintings, and music videos and song lyrics by Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar. But last year I also asked students to read the article “The Racist History of Portland, the Whitest City in America” by Alana Semuels in order to understand their own state’s history of racist laws, redlining and gentrification. They also read “Students Have the Right to #takeaknee” by the Oregon A.C.L.U., which describes an incident in their own school when football players’ First Amendment rights were denied by their coach. My students were eager learners for this unit, digging into the texts and discussion opportunities with a fervor that communicated their hunger for wanting to understand race and racism in their own community, even if they’d experienced racism firsthand. - excerpt from New York Times, The Learning Network "When School Gets Real: Teachers Connect Classroom Lessons to Current Events"
"Yeeaahh!" the yoga instructor roared, a deep guttural sound emerging from her throat. She sounded like she was celebrating a bowling strike after downing an entire pitcher of Bud Light all by herself. I was disturbed. At the start of class, this instructor's volume combined with the harshness of our already prickly and fricative English… Continue reading Why is my yoga teacher yelling at me?
Recently, my dreams have been filled with memories of being 17, of being free and beholden to no one. I blast Weeknd from my car speakers, remembering Friday afternoons in June 2002 -- driving to University Park to meet my friends where we'll have a water fight and lay in each others laps and make daisy chains… Continue reading A Reminder
in a rebel waltz we follow 1-2-3 time place body in bed by 9 hit snooze buttons no more than twice arrive at 7:15 cc bosses hang parking pass from rear view to avoid reprimand and repeat make eye contact and nod to imply listening we breathe deeply before responding, jot down notes before maybe… Continue reading rebel waltz
At the end of my Senior year in high school, my philosophy teacher, Mr Knox, assigned us our final project. He taught us the word ‘ineffable’, meaning an experience that can’t be described in words. He asked us to craft presentations inspired by an ineffable experience from our lives. My buddies and I were avid… Continue reading The Ineffable Project: Exploring Humanity Apart from Academia