Why I Write

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching since the kiddo came around in May about what I want to get out of this blog. The reality of life right now is that writing here has taken a back seat to life, which is most definitely a good thing. After work, my desire to sit and compose a piece of writing has been diminished by the cute wiggly little kid who keeps smiling at me. She's so distracting!

Before I know it, several weeks have passed by and I realized that I haven't posted about anything. It's not that my thoughts are gone, it's that my time is gone. Or at least reapportioned for different use. I am like a company who's strategic vision has changed.

One of the results of this change is that my time has become extremely valuable. I'm much more concerned with a meeting being pointless this year than in the last 5 because I want to go see my kid! I've stayed less for tutoring and I've called fewer parents than in any previous years. Finding the correct balance between my family and my kids at school has certainly been a bigger challenge than expected.

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My hope for this blog when I started writing is that it would become a forum for teachers, parents, students and all involved in education - which is, well, everyone - to discuss frustrations, successes, goals and triumphs. As I write these words, my mind is able to move past the singular moments of teaching my own classroom and towards the broader goals and ideas in education. Then I remember that I am a snowflake in an avalanche. Then I get frustrated that I likely won't change the tide of the avalanche. Then I remember that I love being a snowflake anyways, so that's OK.

This is my therapy. This is my healing. This is my place to explore and grow and learn and teach and cooperate all with others who share a vision of what education can be and can become. 

The community of teachers has an issue with negativity. There are so many things on a daily basis that can be a source of frustration that it is easy to get caught up in a vicious cycle. Now that I've joined the ranks of parenthood, I totally get how the increased fatigue leads to less patience, less empathy, less unconditional love and respect.

I find whining just for the sake of whining is enjoyable. But it doesn't help anything. When I whine, I want to productively whine! I want a solution to the cause of my whining so that I won't have to whine about the same thing over and over and over again. I want to help change the classroom that I teach and the lives of the students who spend their time with me. I want to impart meaning to my students and to myself. When I was in 7th grade, I quit the track team. When my dad asked me why I wanted to quit, I told him that I didn't understand a sport that made you run in a circle. It seemed so pointless.

So why do I write? Why do I choose to write here, online, where others can read and comment and judge? That's the question I've been trying to figure out recently.

I write here because it is a little bit scary. For every piece of my being that is a little excited at the prospect that one of  my posts could turn into a book, or could go viral, there is an equally scared piece of my being. The internet is a brutal place, and this writing is putting some personal parts of my being into that world. Let's say one of my posts does go viral. Do I really think that every comment and share will be positive? Not a chance.


Every day in class, I ask my kids to get over their fear. It could be a fear of public speaking; a fear of being wrong; a fear of being made fun of; a fear of failure; a fear of success. Learning occurs outside of our comfort zone. I wish I could find a way to tell my students that this is what learning is really about more often. Every once in a while, I find the right words in the right spot; it just feels like it never happens often enough.

And I think that's why I keep coming back to this blog even as my life has gotten busier with my daughter. I may take a few weeks off, but I keep drifting back here, knowing full well that I don't have some ridiculous large following of people waiting for the next blog post to drop, knowing that it's mostly family and friends and colleagues that read this space, knowing that I have seven ideas a day and most of them turn into a puff of cloud in the sky that spells out coulda-woulda-shouldas.

I love writing. It is the assignment that I always wanted to be assigned in school but go oh-so-rarely. It is the outlet to put out my true feelings and emotions when, in reality, lots of what a teacher does is put on a wonderfully chaotic act. This action, these words, are always true. Should my students read this space (and some of them do), maybe one of them will one day be inspired to teach, or write, or just be excited to be themselves because damnit that's really hard to do in high school.

So that's why I write. What about you?

Thanks for reading this blog! I hope you'll consider taking a moment to comment below and turn this into a conversation. Whether you are an educator or not, we have all had common experiences with education both good and bad. I want to hear what you think! 

About Me:
My name is Alec Chambers. I am a high school history and government teacher at a small, urban public school in Kansas City called Center High School. We regularly kick tail. Among many awards, we were named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2014. I don't just teach at Center- I also graduated from Center in 2006 after attending Center Schools K-12. I have a degree in Political Science, a second degree in International Relations, a third degree in Education and a Master's of Arts in Teaching. I have an unofficial degree is soccer. All of those degrees have led me to the high-paying teaching profession! I have a newborn daughter and am married to the most awesome woman on the planet. Seriously. It's a proven fact.

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