A year ago, January 2017, I began writing for Indy/Ed, an education blog under the Citizen/Ed Network. Towards the end of 2016, I was in the middle of a Teach Plus Policy Fellowship and within the fellowship, we were divided into five working groups. I was in the social justice working group as well as David McGuire, who had already been writing for Indy/Ed for some time. He asked if I would co-write a piece with him. I did and the piece didn’t get published. I didn’t think much about Indy/Ed anymore after that, but about a month later I was asked to write for the publication and I thought, “Why not?”
Anytime I decide to take on a new opportunity, I set some parameters and a goal. I decided I would write before my children woke up or after they went to bed and I would try to write a piece once a week or at least four pieces a month. That’s exactly what I did.
I always loved to write. In school, when I would finish my work early, I would read or I would write stories. I mostly wrote poems, plays and stories about pirates. I had this whole series where I was the main character, but I was a boy who was a stowaway on a ship. (I wrote that series in middle school and middle school educators know weird things happen in the brains of middle schoolers, so I just chalk it up to that.) The teachers I had always told me that not only did I write well, but I also had interesting perspectives; I thought my teachers were just trying to find something to say to me, a quiet kid, to engage me in conversation. I brushed those comments, but never stopped writing.
I wrote throughout high school and college and joined the Haraka Writers, one of the Purdue’s Black Culture Center’s Performing Arts Ensembles. When I got serious about gardening, I started a garden blog and later I started this website to have a place to low key write about education and compile some resources. I knew people were reading my garden blog and my posts on here, but those were mostly my family, friends, and members from my church. But when I started writing for Indy/Ed, my writing status was elevated and I became known for writing to the point that several times last year I was recognized in public for being an Indy/Ed writer and not an educator or my children’s mom or Jermaine’s wife.
I never thought anything I had to say would resonate with people and people would call me an education writer and then I wrote my tenth Indy/Ed piece, “Teachers Quit Principals, Not Schools.” I learned last week this piece had been viewed at least 650,000 times. That’s crazy to me, absolutely crazy. Admittedly, I am an introvert; I’m not shy, but I like to keep to myself. That type of exposure makes it difficult to hide or stay low key, so I had to grapple with the fact that maybe I am what people are now calling me, an education writer and maybe I have something to say worth reading.
Now, in addition to writing for Indy/Ed, I also write for The Educator’s Room. In total, I wrote 88 blog posts for Indy/Ed and two articles for The Educator’s Room last year. I wrote 90 pieces and people out there, who aren’t related to me, were reading them. I doubt if I’ll strike gold twice and write a piece with that many views in 2018, but I am sure of one thing today. I am an education writer and I can make a difference and an impact through the written word, so I’ll continue to write until I have nothing left to say.