How are you? How are things?
Normally I shy away from anything like this because I don’t really like attention. However, I do like writing and sharing information, so as an X-ennial (it’s a thing, I promise) who believes that newspapers are best consumed in their tactile glory, I can still see the value of getting online.
Now, why the name you ask? All blogs need some sort of schtick to survive, I’m not too naive to deny that, so I thought I’d go with what I know.
I’m extra. My students remind me of this every day. They think they are insulting me, but they don’t know that I wear it as a badge of honor. They think that I’m extra because I assign a lot of work, have high expectations, and generally want the best from them. You know, things all teachers strive for.
They also think I’m extra because I can be a little sarcastic and snarky. Take exhibit A up at the top of this page. That meme was created by one of my students last year. Mr. Terrance was the AP World History teacher and I teach Pre-AP English, and apparently we were driving our shared students crazy with our work load. One of my newspaper staffers showed me the meme thinking I would be upset at what was circulating. Not only did I think it was glorious, but I made a few editing changes to it and made it my screen saver. Extra right?
I’m also extra because when I got into teaching it was my mission to not just show up at 7:30 and leave at 3. Growing up, I had never considered teaching as a profession. I’m not going to act like I never had good teachers, but all of them fell in the elementary and middle school categories. I knew when I got into teaching that I would want to be at the high school level, and the few teachers I remembered from high school were not remembered for their greatness. I was a 7:30 to 3 student most of the time, but I definitely could have used more, so I made it my duty when I got into teaching that I would be involved in as many extra-curricular activities as I could.
It started with basketball. In my previous life, I spent 5 years learning the inner workings of major college basketball programs as a student manager at UCLA and a graduate manager/assistant at Fresno State. I got into journalism at Fresno, and when college basketball programs didn’t come knocking at my door, I thought my path was going to be as a beat writer for a college basketball team. I worked a year covering high school sports for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and I subbed during the day to supplement my income. I fell in love with teaching, and my new path was forged.
15 years later, here I am. I teach Pre-AP English 10, Newspaper and Intro to Media. I’ve been the newspaper adviser at my school for 9 years. I was the yearbook adviser for 7. I’ve spent 15 years coaching basketball, although I’m stepping out at least for this year to spend more time at home with my wife and son. I coached softball for 5 years and track for 2. I’ve also spent the last year working with our school’s social justice club, Game Changers.
It is with that club that I have started two journeys this morning. The first is this blog, which I hopefully plan to continue to update throughout the year and highlight the importance of extra-curriculars throughout a school year. The second journey is the one I’m currently on this morning. I’m writing this post from a luxury bus, with some other teachers and about 30 students in tow. We are going on a four day trip through Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee on a Civil Rights tour. We left at 6:30 a.m., so most of the kids are asleep on our way from St. Louis to Birmingham, but I’m guessing there will be a lot of great writing opportunities along the way, so I’m giving it the old college try.
Thanks for reading and helping me start to share my extra-ness with the world.