Chill the champagne, call the babysitter and get out those funky illuminated 2015 party glasses! It’s New Year’s!
What a year it’s been!
Good ol’ 2014 was a rough one in many ways. National news was bloodier and more violent than usual.
But in response, social activism was on the rise. People were taking to the streets to protest in numbers not seen since the Civil Rights movement. Corporate Education Reform was on the wane. National teachers unions were calling for the resignation of Arne Duncan, our U.S. Secretary of Education. Pennsylvania lost its worst governor in my lifetime – Tom Corbett. And they’re making a new Star Wars movie!
But perhaps most important of all, Gadflyonthewallblog was born!
I never thought I’d be a teacher-blogger. But here I am.
They gave me ideas, made me want to speak out. I’d start posting things on Facebook. A status update here, a meme there. Until one day I starting writing something that was so long, I couldn’t fool myself anymore.
I had written a blog post. There was nothing for it, then, but to start a blog.
I promised myself if I took that step I would publish at least once a week as long as people were reading what I wrote.
At first, I’d get 50-100 page views. That quickly turned to 1,000 – 2,000 and then sometimes much more.
Now, more than 40,000 hits later, with 5,785 followers, I’m flattered beyond words that people seem to like what I’ve been writing. I hope I’m helping add to the conversation about education, social justice and anything else I write about.
To celebrate my half year as a blogger – I started all this in July – I’ve compiled a Top 10 List of my posts.
I hate to use data to rank my students, but I found it very helpful here in selecting which articles to include.
Like all data, it has its limitations. For instance, many of these articles were reblogged or published in many different venues – the Washington Post, LA Progressive, Diane Ravich’s blog, Public School Shakedown, the Badass Teachers Association blog, etc. Since I don’t have access to their statistics, I couldn’t include them in my calculations. As a result, a post may be lower on my list but it actually received more views overall if you include everywhere it was published. I suspect this is true in some cases but can’t prove it.
What I ended up with – in ascending order – are the most viewed posts on my blog site.
I hope you’ll find something interesting you haven’t read before or perhaps an old favorite to read again. Or maybe you can just share this list with a friend to let them know how totally super awesome my blog is!
Anyway, here we go – the Top 10 Posts of 2014 from Gadflyonthewallblog:
Description: Before the first day with students, my school had an active shooter drill. This is how it went down.
Fun Fact: This piece was chosen for a Freshly Pressed award by WordPress.com. It has the most likes (145) and the most comments (31) of any article I have published so far.
Description: Just a bunch of education memes I made – most of them before I started the blog.
Fun Fact: This was meant to be a toss off – somewhere for me to keep track of my memes. It was unexpectedly popular and many of these memes keep popping up in unexpected places to this day.
Description: It’s a surreal experience for a teacher to attend a parent-teacher night for the first time as a parent. From a daddy’s eyes, there’s no choice but to question the value of standardized testing in Kindergarten.
Fun Fact: This was so personal it was very hard to write. I didn’t think anyone would care. I was wrong. It’s been published widely beyond my blog.
Description: When one of my students earned outstanding grades in my class last year but was denied a place in this year’s advanced class because of low standardized test scores, I took action.
Fun Fact: This piece really angered people on Facebook for the injustice this student faced. I received a plethora of comments and messages from others who had gone through similar situations.
Description: My students were so depressed by the Grand Jury decision not to hold a trial for the police officer who killed Michael Brown, I had to address it in class.
Fun Fact: I received more hate mail for this article than any other. It was widely published – even in the Washington Post. I had to stop reading the comments after a while. Many thanks to those who don’t want my head for doing this.
Description: I got so sick of hearing corporate education reformers go on TV and talk about our failing schools. Yes, they’re failing because of education policies that don’t work that we refuse to replace.
Fun Fact: This was something of a slow burn. At first, it didn’t receive much attention, but I was surprised to see that views continue to trickle in daily.
Description: My continuing coverage and outrage at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s overreach to steal York City Schools away from taxpayers and give it to a failed charter school operator.
Fun Fact: My most recent post, widely published. I have been one of very few writers sounding the alarm for months. Finally, the nation seems to be paying attention.
Description: Common Core is nonsense. To see that all you have to do is step in a classroom. Unfortunately that’s one thing the authors of CCSS have never done.
Fun Fact: I knew I had a winner from the second I posted this. It took off like a rocket. It has also been widely published and debated – one of the most popular pieces on the Badass Teachers Association blog. This is the only article I know of to inspire another blogger to write a complete piece attempting to debunk it.
Description: When Time Magazine promoted tech millionaires’ plan to improve education by attacking teachers, I exploded in fury. The result is this angry diatribe taking them to task point-by-point.
Fun Fact: Hugely, popular, widely published and almost universally praised by teachers and teachers groups. This lead to my involvement helping craft a response to the Time article published in the magazine along with my fellows at the Badass Teachers Association.
Description: When Pennsylvania cancelled its contract with Philadelphia teachers, I saw the writing on the wall. If they can do that, teachers need to stop giving them the ammunition. They need to refuse to proctor the standardized tests being used to unjustly label our schools failures and justify the elimination of our collective bargaining rights.
Fun Fact: This is easily my most popular article yet. For a few weeks I was something of a folk hero. I saw my words memed by others and this piece appeared almost everywhere. Originally, I had debated publishing it at all thinking, “Who am I to tell teachers what they should do?” But my advice turned out to really hit a nerve. Teachers are dying to opt out of standardized testing. All it will take is one spark. One tiny spark.