Graphic Novel (Teacher/Friend) Review 294/365: Ronell Whitaker

It is Teacher Appreciation Week, and I would be doing my profession a disservice if I didn’t give a shout out to some of my past teachers and current teacher peeps this week that have molded, and continue to mold me, as I grow as a professional.

Today, I want to take time to recognize and thank a man that has become a close friend of mine over the past few years.  We have been on the hustle in the classroom grind together since we were shouting “Free Hat” at NCTE Vegas outside of our session room to try to get people to come listen to us speak.  We didn’t have hats.  It was a joke.  I don’t know why it was funny, but damn if it doesn’t still get me laughing today.

At the end of that basic comics in the classroom session, which had about 15-20 people attending, a young teacher came up to us.  She lived and taught in South Carolina.  She asked my then DC Mike Jacobson, who was presenting with us, if she could get a job in District 218 because she was amazed and inspired by what me and Ronell were doing in the classroom with the support of administration.  I’ll never forget that moment.  She would have moved to Chicago in a minute if she could…to work with us.  It made me appreciate everything I had and still have: great colleagues, a supportive administration, and freedom to creatively administer my lessons/assessments.

Ronell has been a great colleague these past few years.  He has helped me find books to use in my classroom.  He has helped me with tech hang-ups.  He has taken work off of my plate when things have become overwhelming.  We keynoted NCTE this past November.  We have grown our PLC to include teachers from coast to coast.  We created a comics class together that has become a hit in our district.  We have spoken together in Vegas, Boston, NYC, Chi-Town, San Diego…

We’ve had each other’s back.

I appreciate you, Ronell.

We all need colleagues that have our back, and while I’m stressing this week that my students show love to teachers that they appreciate, I encourage all of you reading this to show love to each other.  Teaching is a rough profession.  It’s amazing, but it’s rough.  Show your appreciation.

I appreciate you, teachers.  Especially if you get to the work.  If you care about assessments.  If you care about engagement.  If you care about being yourself in the classroom.

Happy reading!


Twitter: @comics_teacher

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