Defining my refuse – 24/31 #SOL20

Yesterday, I felt a chasm open and a sludge of panic filled my gut. Significant change has marked much of my life, so I was perplexed by these emotions. I had been on a twelve-hour-a-day Twitterfest, staying connected in virtual meetings, and preparing for distance learning, so I suppose it should be of no surprise. I was thinking more about school and teaching and learning and equity while trying to manage a new normal.

I have also been doing a LOT of reading and thinking about ways to teach my students online and I was inspired by John Warmer’s recent article, “If it Doesn’t Make Sense…Refuse” in Inside Higher Ed .

This was a signal for me. I decided to define my refuse:

  1. I will not comment on American politics on Twitter. I’m not American, and while I do have a vested interest as a fellow human being, what I witness at a distance on Twitter confounds and distresses me. I won’t feed that part of the internet.
  2. I will not post platitudes and seemingly simplistic thoughts on eduTwitter. It only draws challenges and the ire of some who might be tired of the “starfish”.
  3. I will not challenge the platitudes and seemingly simplistic thoughts of some on eduTwitter unless they are racist or sexist or elitist. This is the line that I will hold firmly.
  4. I will not expect others to respond to me on Twitter, in email, or to my writing or podcast. I am learning through both silence and critical feedback. Silence is its own form of feedback.
  5. I will not expect others to join me in my willingness to bend to the needs of students and parents for online teaching at this time.
  6. I will not give up on my willingness to bend to the needs of students and parents for online teaching at this time.
  7. I will not spend money needlessly, but I will indulge myself and my students in books and educational material, conferences, etc.
  8. I will not stop sharing what I can with those who have less.
  9. I will not stop working for my students.
  10. I will not give up my optimism.




Published by Melanie White

I am an English and Media Studies teacher, and Department Head of Fine Arts at Nepean High School in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am concerned with equity and antiracist practices while recognizing that I am speaking from a position of privilege and continuing to learn.

6 thoughts on “Defining my refuse – 24/31 #SOL20

  1. I need to do the same. I am spending too much time on projects I’ve invented to fill my time. I have a few good ones, but I don’t have any routine to my day and I need a routine. I have a lot of reading to do – enjoyable reading. And I need to clean my kitchen floor. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Powerful. I, too, am finding the screen difficult to manage – and I can’t give up on cleaning (yet – but we are getting closer!). I like this idea of defining the refuse & the way you’ve framed it as both positive and negative. Hmm… will be giving this one some thought.

    Liked by 1 person

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