The Bunny Chronicles

A small, but long-term project that I’ve undertaken is the story of Baby Bunny. I want to write and draw stories about Bunny as he goes on his adventures. Thus, the creation of The Bunny Chronicles.

Bunny becomes an astronaut


I like to write and draw. I will openly admit, I am not the greatest at drawing. But these activities are fun for me. Also, The Bunny Chronicles is a way to create a connection with my son, whom we call “Bunny” in public and before birth.

There are a lot of stories out there aimed at children of all ages. Some stories are great, some are good, and a lot are bad. I take issue with the message or language presented in some of these stories– most recently “Never Touch a Dragon”.

In the book, these poor dragons are abandoned, sold, etc.. for being natural (they are dragons, and that’s okay). Instead of subtly teaching about consent (as “Never Touch a Shark” does), the book teaches bad morals.

I want Bunny to know what is okay and what is not. I, also, want to entertain Bunny. I want Bunny to believe anything is possible through cooperation and inquisitiveness. I want Bunny to become a strong, considerate human being.

What’s the plan?

I like to plan, though they often go awry. As of now, I plan to upload more portions of The Bunny Chronicles every two months.

Teaching: College vs. High School

Having taught in both the college and high school settings, I thought I would share some insight on the major differences. I’ve talked to people who don’t understand the differences between the settings as they have only worked in one or the other.

First, teaching in the college setting is comparable to a loose handshake. Friendly, community-focused (getting to know those around you), collaborative. You exist to build a sense of belonging within the community at large– through research, service work, or excellent teaching.

Colleges provide all the resources you could possibly want or envision to support your goals. If you can justify the expense with data or student need, you will probably receive your request. You may have to wait until next budget year, but you will get what you need to teach, research, serve, etc…

Of course, there are still standards you must meet in the design and teaching of your courses. But the standards are often vague, and how you meet them is up to you (the content expert).

Finally, in the college setting my salary was $52,000 per year (non-tenure track instructor).

High School

High school is having nothing and losing hope quickly. There is a lot of burnout and turnover for teachers. In the high school setting, this national trend makes sense. I am expected to spin gold from straw.

One major lack is in the positive attitude of students and teachers alike. Beginning elementary students are happy and excited to go to school. My nephew would smile when talking about the upcoming school year. By high school, students are burnout or tired. Most don’t want to be here. If they do want to be here, it’s not for the purpose of learning. They want to see their friends, get away from home… always something else. Something happens between their educational start and high school… something not so great.

I lack resources to be a more effective teacher. I have a SmartBoard in my room but can’t use it for lack of a cord (that somehow will cost $1000!?!). Copy paper is kept locked in the head teacher’s room, and I must disrupt her class to ask for it if the copy machine runs out. These barriers become exhaustive to navigate and expensive.

I’ve written about it before, but teachers are expected to meet these costs and they add up. I know there exists better, more efficient ways to meet my teaching goals, but can’t access or afford them.

We are also fighting social trends that actively harm our environment and teaching. Specifically, TikTok trends encourage stealing/vandalism of teacher bought materials (computer gear) or the physical space itself. The bathrooms are constantly being locked and repaired due to TikTok vandalism.

In high school, standards (and teaching to them) are KING. We are given weekly lesson plans to follow; deviation is discouraged. We are not to act as content experts. I could walk into the social studies class and probably still know what I was expected to teach.

Another interesting trend, there is no or very little homework assigned to students, even to Juniors and Seniors. Students are not learning time management, self-management, or study skills as they are not explicitly taught. There is no time given the strict lessons provided to teachers (or testing time).

In the high school setting, my salary is $46,000 per year.

The Harm of “Service” in Education

Teaching requires service and sacrifice. If you’re in the field of education, especially if you are a teacher, you will at some point be thanked for your sacrifice. It is always said with a sad, but we’ll meaning smile– one that seems to say “better you than me”. People, within and outside the field, don’t understand the harm this language poses to those in the profession.

There is a harm of “service/sacrifice” language tied to discussions of professions, especially female dominated professions like teaching. Sacrifice language devalues the scope and effort put into work that should rightfully be compensated. When tied to a female dominated profession, such language becomes another mechanism to fight against for equal or better pay.

(And yes, the gender wage gap is a thing. A well-documented thing).

Additionally, the language increases a sense of obligation or duty placed on the employee. “Thank you for your service” implies that you do the work, and will continue to do so. You can’t say no.

But the (often significant) time involved in this service doesn’t help your career. Service is often not a component for evaluation or promotion at many levels of education.

Higher education is the notable exception. While colleges/universities have service as a tenure component, the scope of the required service is not explained. And not all jobs are created equal. Certain jobs/duties carry hidden prestige, while others are just time eaters.

However, you can’t say no. Refusing service, even time-consuming service, means you will not be offered service or duties later. You are viewed as a non-team player.

But we must make a stand against unpaid, unrecognized work.

Just say no to service. We deserve to be paid.

Top 10 Teaching Resources

Let’s face it: there are way too many English, writing, and literature resources out there! (Of which, this may be one– humor, yo!). I’ve made a list here of resources that I use for English news, writing hints, and literature tips.

These are the best resources.


Purdue OWL

English is a living language– that means it changes. Purdue OWL is the best website for citation style help (both MLA and APA). There is other information as well, but the citation guide is strongest.


Crash Course

This video series on YouTube has the best basic information on a variety of topics. I use the literature guides as an additional resource for my students when reading novels.


UNC Chapel Hill

The strength of the UNC Chapel Hill website is its in-depth grammar and English usage guide. The website explains the nitty-gritty of the English language– the how and when of English usage.


Inside HigherEd

It is vital to keep up-to-date of the latest news, laws, and movements. Inside HigherEd not only has current reporting, but also has interesting perspectives in the OpEd section.

Other Cool Resources

  • Quality Matters- offers certification and training in online teaching
  • Thug Notes- funny YouTube analysis of popular novels and stories
  • Creative Commons- usable resources like photos, audio, etc.. with no or little copyright restrictions
  • CommonLit- texts and questions grouped by theme, grade, or Lexile Level
  • OER Commons- whole courses or textbooks with no or little copyright restrictions
  • Canva- website for the creation of memes, classroom posters, anything..
Image made using Canva resources

Bonus! Resources to avoid:

  • Scholarly journals- journal articles are often too nuanced and time-consuming for busy teachers to read regularly. I suggest reading journals when you have free time or are especially interested in the topic

15 Phrases to Use One Day.

There are many cool phrases that I see on the internet or hear from my students. I want to one day use these in some of my creative writing. Here are 15 of my current favorite phrases/prompts:

  1. “You’re not going to survive this war.” “If I was worried about that, I’d have brought it up months ago.”
  2. “I’m going to bring you in on this conversation.” “Do you have to?”
  3. “Ignoring everyone in the room is my favorite part of this tradition”
  4. “Please, don’t, I have a kid!” “Why should I care if you’ve reproduced?”
  5. “You’re changing.” “So is the rest of the world.”
  6. “It runs in the family.” “Well, this is where it runs out.”
  7. “Mother.” “Disgrace.”
  8. “I am the Queen.” “And yet, you’re still not enough.”
  9. When I imagined her coming down the aisle, I didn’t imagine her in a casket.
  10. No one cared who I was until I put on the mask.
  11. I panicked and told them I was proficient in blood magic, not expecting to get the job.
  12. The ladies of the house were versed in all the fine arts: music, dance, flower arranging, and necromancy.
  13. The official story is we’ve got a rat problem, okay?
  14. Fight me, you ceramic bitch
  15. Holy mother of rectangles

How to make an OER.

Are you interested in using or writing an Open Educational Resource? Do you even know what an Open Educational Resource (OER) is? Why are teachers and schools switching to OER? I believe in OER and want to help you on your journey of OER usage.

Open Educational Resources, or OER, can be a variety of things which makes it hard to know exactly what you are looking for. OER can be whole course, with things like syllabus, assignments, daily lesson plans, and suggested texts or readings. OER can also be an individualized textbook written by faculty at a specific college or university and shared publicly. The wide range of OER makes it difficult to know where to start.

Why use OER? Money. Open Educational Resources are free to use. (See below about book publishers charging for fake OER). Students save money by not buying expense textbooks, workbooks, and other. Within a semester for 5 courses (including the various course sections), we had saved students upwards of $150,000 by switching to OER.

It is possible for OER to cost the students money. This occurs when a resource needs to be printed– i.e. the cost of printing and shipping. The main feature of OER is the creator(s) and publishers are not receiving compensation or royalties for their work.

So how do you use OER? When deciding to use OER, you must first assess your individual needs. Is this a new (or new to you) course where you need a lot of support? Or do you know what you want to cover and need to find a textbook that covers that content in a concise, yet coherent manner? The table below has a listing of popular OER websites and the best method of usage. This is NOT an exhaustive list.

Resource Good For (course curriculum or textbook)
Merlotcourse curriculum guides
Project Gutenbergindividual texts (novels)
A listing of the best usage of common OER resources

If the available OER resources aren’t what you need for your course, you could modify an existing OER (check the copyright license first) or create your own from scratch. Over two semesters, I created my own Early American Literature OER to save students money (the cheapest text in this category is around $65). From my experience, there are some considerations when creating your own OER:

  • Who will be writing/creating the OER? Do they have the necessary skills and knowledge? Do they have the proper resources (time, internet, etc…) and institutional support?
  • What is missing or lacking in your current text? Is this content supplementary or vital to student learning?
  • How will this OER be accessible to diverse populations? Is it available printed (if a text)? Can students download the resource for use with their own assistive technology? Is there alternative text included for graphics?
  • How will the OER be distributed or hosted? Who can access the OER (the specific courses’ students, the students of the school, the entire internet)? Is there a cost associated with hosting the OER on a particular web space?
  • Who has access permissions to modify the OER? Does this permission have to change if they leave the institution?
  • Do any parts of the OER violate copyright laws?

Fake OER?

Open Educational Resources save students money. But this savings occurs at the expense of textbook publishers. To combat the loss of their industry, many textbook publishers have begun creating “open resources” that cost money– whether a one time fee or a subscription for a set amount of time. While resources are excellent in quality, they are not OER. The whole point of OER is to have no cost to the student.

Why use these non-OER resources? These cost resources are often chosen by instructors due to their ease of use (for instructors) and additional features (like adaptive quizzes or multimedia components). The student content of these cost resources is often similar to the quality and design of available OER resources.


Creating an OER resource takes time and effort, but the individualized content ensures you are able to meet the needs of your student population. Great OER exists– if you don’t want to create from scratch. Adopting or creating OER can seem daunting, but it is possible.

This is what high school is actually like.

Why All The Stress? The current state of education for individual students: Part III

In speaking with parents, one thing that astounds me is the lack of understanding of their child’s daily experiences. I frequently question the apparent lack of communication occurring at home. Are parents not asking? Are children not speaking? Who is listening? Parents (and other adults, too) forget the daily grind that is high school.

If you’ve been out of high school for a while, I’m here to tell you-school is NOT fun. Disney lied. There are no cool sing-alongs and choreographed dance sequences. Zac Efron is not going to jump out in full basketball regalia and belt one out. There are absolutely no mashed potato food fights. Snow days only occur in locales that actually get snow (thanks for nothing, Florida!). Instead, school is a stressful, hyper-controlled environment.

IN FLORIDA (in a school of around 2200 students), this is the day-to-day high school student experience or concerns, but the experience is similar for other states as well:

School starts at 7:20 A.M. But students are expected to be in the building or classroom at 7:00 A.M. School ends at 2:20 P.M. That is 7 hours of class. Lunch break is 30 minutes long. A common misconception: there are no study hall periods (a period where you sit quietly and work or sleep). For roughly 7 hours, students are expected to be mentally awake and alert. Some students stay even later for extra curriculars or tutoring (which ends at 4:45 P.M.).

Students are mentally exhausted after (or during) all of their classes. Their working memory is shot. I frequently get asked, “Homework, we had homework?” Students don’t have an agenda or use it. Additionally, they lack strategies or skills to work around their memory lapses.

Additionally, high expectations lead to increased stress for students. A lot of students have severe anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation. This stress is added to by common school features like fire drills (every month), shooter drills (every quarter), over 190 security cameras on campus, bullying, and excessive testing. Within a three week period, students had 3 major multi-hour tests. I hold multiple high-level degrees, if I was tested like my students are, I would have quit. The students take: Florida Standards Assessment, Practice ACT, NWEA (3 times per year), District-created test (3 times per year), and End-of-course exams (multiple courses). This is excluding any mock exams or exams being field tested by any other organizations.

Their phone is their life. Students will choose to go to the Dean and receive an In-School Suspension before giving their phone up, even for just a single class period. School and class policies don’t matter. Whether a school/teacher allows cell phone usage or not, students are constantly on their phones. They often don’t complete work because they’re on their phones. My #1 piece of advice would actually be to NOT give your child a phone. They can’t handle it.

Public education costs money. Students, often, cannot pay the costs of their schooling as every little thing now costs money. Want a locker? Pay to rent one. Want to park on campus? Pay for a parking pass. Want to take a fun elective class like Art or Wood shop? Pay. In Florida, students also have to pay for school and gym specific uniforms. These expenses are in addition to food. Most students have to buy a school lunch as no microwaves are provided for student use.

With students today, most curriculum is designed (by state standards) with the assumption that they want to go to college. Getting into college is difficult. Notoriously, celebrities have been involved in admissions scandals. It makes sense- going to the “best” college can significantly impact the trajectory of your life. Colleges, up until Covid-19, could be very selective. It will be difficult again. It is no longer enough to have a good GPA; students must also have excellent and multiple extracurriculars (which takes considerable time and money).

Recently, there was a story on Fox News Baltimore about a student being passed to a higher grade even though he had failed that grade level. People were outraged, but this is the new standard procedure. Students are kept with grade level peers and are expected to make up the class credits in summer school. It is the student/parent’s responsibility to sign up for summer school. Summer school sign-ups are not automatic.

There is a common perception that special education students get easier work or are taking advantage of “the system”. No. Special education accommodations (the services they receive like more time to complete work or paper copies of notes) are selected by a committee of professionals (including teachers, doctors, parents, lawyers). Sadly, special education students often cannot fully utilize accommodations due to strict school bell schedules or other students’ perceptions. Many students do not want to draw attention to their (dis)ability and would prefer to fail an assignment. Special education is a vital service.

For teachers, school has its own set of difficulties:

The main difficulty with teaching is the lack of resources. There are too many students and not enough funds. I have 32 students, but 30 desks. I’ve written previously about teacher funded classroom materials. No physical assets- no agenda or computer given. One of our classroom computers has been trying to log a student in since November (it’s April).. They are still waiting.

Schools are spread thin. There are 5 guidance counselors for 2200 students. To fill the gap, teachers are expected to act as mental health counselors with little or no training. Students have panic attacks. Students have severe depression. Students are suicidal. Teachers also have to deal with the mental health concerns of everyday life – teachers have died, parents are hospitalized, teachers are ill. Teachers are expected to teach social or emotional skills in addition to content. There is not enough time or training to do this, but refusing is not an option.

Child is on a new medication and can’t stay awake during class? Kid has no friends? Child was moved to a different seat in another teacher’s classroom? As a teacher, all of these are YOUR fault. In fact, everything is your fault. Teachers need to be prepared for nasty notes, emails, and calls from home. The school administration will be carbon-copied on everything, too.

Many parent-teacher meetings have to be scheduled after the school day. We are often mandated to stay late, without extra pay. Most things we do are without pay. There is a popular phrase for counting the number of years a teacher has been teaching: “years of service”. I hate this phrase as it normalizes uneven power dynamics and illegal behavior. What other profession requires employees to “volunteer” their hours or risk being fired for unprofessional behavior? You literally cannot say no.

For all the negatives, and there are a lot, teaching is a mentally/emotionally rewarding career. Seeing students succeed is a joy. Seeing students smile or happy makes us happy. I teach for my students. They are everything.

Have I missed anything? Let me know!

You can also check out Part 1 about the overall state of education

Or Part 2 about student success