I've known Jason since 9th grade environmental science class. We bonded over a common opinion that our egg drop project should have as many styrofoam packing peanuts as possible, even if that meant breaking the egg and failing the project. We were C- students at best. Much has transpired in the 18 years since that project. Jason is now married, has two daughters, and lives in Pittsburgh; while I mostly roam the streets of Philadelphia looking for water ice and pick-up basketball games. In the time we've lived on opposite sides of the state, we've each developed a passion for education and the students we are privileged to work with. We correspond frequently and have always wanted to collaborate in some way. My original suggestion was for us to buy one of those huge Lego sets (probably the Millennium Falcon) and eat grilled cheese sandwiches, but Ja$e thought this might be a better use of our time. As we brainstormed a name for the blog, we remembered something Jason wrote before the first day of school in August 2016:
My friend Adam always reminds me of the "day in, day out" nature of teaching. There is no hiding. The next 180 days will bring up strengths and flaws in me that I never thought to notice before. There will be a heavy dose of beauty, as there usually is, but there will also be a steady pounding of failure and frustration. That repetition, complete with timed bells, alarms, and scheduled days, will simultaneously produce moments of great variation and surprise. Life is exciting beyond the mundane outer shell. Teaching reminds me of that.
I'm sitting here, my stomach twisted with equal parts love, fear, and red wine, hoping that I can remember to be excited. Society has made a great handshake with us, trusting that we will lead, guide, and teach with the care that our young people deserve. So I want to notice, and keep noticing, the beauty that spills out of that calculated routine. I want to see the smiles and the tears. I hope to hear the shouts and the laughter.