Martin Luther King Jr. by Marvin Koner

Style and Substance (or, At Least Three Things You Don’t Say To A Man of Color)

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Moments like this make me want to ask, “Who ASKED you?!” Some of my frustration lately stems from the perception that making something look easy equates to the task actually being easy. Especially as it pertains to the site and everything surrounding it. The design, the content, the schedule, the photos, and the accompanying branding come together as pieces to a greater vision, one that hopefully pushes others to also …

This Moment of Clarity [On Sandy Hook and Telling Adults To Shut Up Already]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

This post was supposed to be about me. The myriad of questions I’ve faced, the situations I’ve encountered, the tribulations of a Black-Latino NYC educator looking for reasons why our system continues to work against the interests of children, and the constant shaking of my head, not to the beat of whatever my iPod’s playing, but of the things I would deem adult problems. My mood has been less Swedish …

Some Nights (What We Stand For)

Jose Vilson Jose 6 Comments

Some nights, I stay up cashing in my bad luck Some nights, I call it a draw Some nights, I wish that my lips could build a castle Some nights, I wish they’d just fall off But I still wake up, I still see your ghost Oh Lord, I’m still not sure what I stand for oh What do I stand for? What do I stand for? Most nights, I …

Thankful (After Thanksgiving)

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

I try to be thankful everyday. I’m always reminded that I have ancestors who didn’t and don’t have the same fortune I have, and how blessed I am to partake in meals with all of my family. It’s hard to celebrate a day you know was dedicated to what pilgrims perceived as manifest destiny but that the victims and survivors perceive as the pillage, rape, and genocide of their people. …

What A 55 Looks Like On This Side [Fail Is A Strong Word]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 6 Comments

Sifting through the multitude of ungraded papers, I looked for some sign that they actually learned something. I hate entering in 55s in my Excel sheet. A teacher can say whatever they want to the kids, and threaten them about not doing well, but most of us prefer that all of our kids do well from the early going. Even when we hold high standards for our students, none of …

10³ (My 1,000th Post and Running)

Jose Vilson Jose 2 Comments

Last night starts off with you telling the world that you have no idea what you’re going to write for your 1,000th post. Do you bunt it and just write “This is my 1000th post?” Do you try to hit a homerun with a colossal montage of highlights and achievements since the first time you ever attempted hitting “Publish” on your WordPress screen? No. You post incessantly on your two …

new-york-sunrise-560x373

Teaching Another 180

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 5 Comments

Last night: Honestly, I’m nervous again. I know the routines, too. Sleep tight. Groom well. Come in with a tie. Introduce myself and the class I’m teaching. Announce names. Give out contact cards. Discuss the syllabus. Hope you don’t have a lot of time left over at the end. Leave without too much fanfare. Yet, I can never shake the first day feeling. I’m not scared of the kids. I …

may-calendar

A Whole Month Left (A Freewrite)

Jose Vilson Jose Leave a Comment

“You’re going to miss us!” “Yes, I’m going to miss bothering the heck out of you!” I mean, why do students think we’re actually going to spend our off time thinking about them? Except when we do. Like now. There’s only a month left before we usher them on to their next stations in life (most of them anyways). They’re going to take new trips to school, new friends, different …

Detroit Classroom

On Getting Better At Your Craft

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 4 Comments

This year, I decided I was going to focus more intently on developing lesson plans day-to-day. To be honest, I lost a bit of that, thinking that developing plans by units would be substantive enough to get through to my students and through my curriculum. I was approaching “getting better” by concentrating on getting better at developing units (something I had never done before), but then I was losing sight …

Above and Beyond

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

Often, people make me question what the words “above and beyond” mean in an age when we’re obsessed with overworking and overstating. When Carmen told me that she will not go above and beyond in her activism, I started to think about what that meant based on what I knew about her. When someone approaches her about her hair, her dress, or her passions, she’s not likely to say, “Because …