Helping Students Find Their Purpose

I went on a journey with my students last school year. Some of the steps we took involved inquiry, reflection, writing, and collaboration. But more importantly, it helped students discover their passion, their purpose. I learned about them as full human beings. I learned from them. They taught me as I was teaching them. Using…

A Brief Voting History

When Election Day came, my daddy and I crawled up into his truck, the 1980 lime green and white Sierra or the dark blue King Cab Ford Ranger—always American cars because he was an American man although America didn’t always want him. The Masonic Lodge downtown was the polling place then. Mr. Pete Jacobs, our…

Surviving the Storm

I was at my Aunt Lola’s house—a second home for me. My mother picked me up around dusk to take me back to our house. I was only six years old when Hurricane Hugo barreled into Charleston on September 22, 1989; it was a strong Category 5 storm. Johnsonville is only 88 miles from Charleston…

What Joeleen Taught Me

This school year marks my tenth year as a teacher, my fourth at Spring Valley High School. This is the longest I’ve ever worked at one place. I usually work in threes: a journalist (2005-2008), a teacher at Carolina Forest High School (2008-2011); and a graduate student at the University of South Carolina (2011-2014)—with a…

A Good One

“Hello, my Amerikees!” It was one of my father’s favorite greetings whenever he would come home. I’d hear his truck on the gravel path of our driveway. I’d look out the window and see him driving his dark blue 1987 Ford Ranger towards the shed. Sometimes I would even come out to the back porch…