Salty Speculations

Excuse Me Officer

Today I was driving back home and I got off of the Hopple St. Exit here in Cincinnati.  I stopped at the red light and noticed something very different. I’m used to stopping at the light looking to my left and seeing a person standing holding a sign asking for food, money or work. I’ve seen a lot of food and money get handed out of car windows to the various people who frequent this particular intersection. Today, instead of a person with a cardboard sign, there stood a uniformed cincinnati police officer.  

Because it was warm out I was able to hear part of the conversation that occured between the officer and another driver. The driver inquired to why the officer was standing there, to which the officer replied that he was standing there to prevent people from standing on the corner asking for money. I did not hear what exactly the driver said next but it sounded a bit angry. The officer then replied that the people who stand on the corner are “all doped up”, and he would support them if they “got off the dope”. The driver inaudible again replied and the officer retorted “I don’t have anything better to do until, 4:30 when I get off, unless this radio goes off and tells me otherwise!”

I would like to say:

Exuse me Officer,

Not everyone on the corner is “doped up” (also is this the 90’s…doped, really?!?). If people choose to contribute to these individuals standing on the corner so be it, it’s their money not yours and remember their money also pays your salary.  Additionally, you do have better things to do with taxpayer time. Here is a list of 8 things* to get you started for your convience:

  1. Stand on the corner and hold a sign that reminds drivers to not text and drive 
  2. Stand on the corner and hold a sign that reminds people to wear their seat belts.
  3. Direct traffic because that intersection is a nightmare.
  4. Stand on the corner and ask drivers not to contribute to noise pollution (aka turn your music down)
  5. Volunteer when you do not have a call (for example free store food bank can always use an extra hand in the front bay where you could easily come and go as you need to)
  6. Pick up litter on the side of the road.
  7. Go door to door to get to know your beat. so that way you do not see the people and the people do not see you as a threat, but instead see each other as neighbors looking out for each other.
  8. Unthreatenly walk in and out of gas stations, resturants, and stores and strike up conversations to remind people of your presence in society as someone that is not always dealing with people precieved as criminals.

Thanks and have a nice day!


*It should be noted that several of these options are available to anyone who needs something better to do than be a bigot.


How do you know you are ready? In education we give exams to tell if our students are ready to move on, but for this there is no exam. In movies when the “good guy” is prepared to fight the enemy his master tells him that he “is ready”. But for this there is no measurement but trial and error. So you go out on a date, maybe you sleep around, maybe you blame the other person for it just not working  or maybe not, but deep down you know…You’re feet are at the starting mark, you’ve crouched down but when the starter gun is fired your feet just cannot move. Your feet are stuck in the last race where you were doing so well but then you were tripped, or maybe it was your shoelaces that tripped you. Either way moving your feet at this time is impossible, perhaps you are just gonig to have to wait until the next race comes along.

All the recent political talk about women’s bodies and all the recent legislation that has been proposed here in Ohio has my boxers in a bunch. I’m angry, I’m not sure that words can express just how angry but I’ll give it a go in a sternly worded letter.

Dear Americans who want to control my body,

I’m tired, exhausted in fact of trying to keep my body mine. See for 24 years now you have been trying to control my body. You have been trying to control how it is Labled, how it Looks, what I Do To it, what I Do With it. Let me break it down piece by piece.

The minute I came out of my mothers womb, which sometimes is even hard for her to admit, my body was labeled “girl”. Before I had a name my body had a label! I mean the label is what is most important anyway right? The first thing any relative or friend of the family asks is “Is it a boy or girl” never mind if the baby is healthy or not, never mind the anxiousness and/joy that the parents are feeling, never mind anything except that label. And the labeling continues throughout school my body label placed me in girls gym class, cheer-leading instead of football, and a dress instead of a tux at prom. My body is being used by others to screen and decide what category I fit into.

Onto how my body looks. You love to control how my body looks. Your magazines, your doctors, your movies, your mental health professionals, and your advertising all love to control the way my body looks. The culture of skinny, “perfectly” sculpted bodies are deemed desirable and the doctors have taken this as true. Instead of encouraging people of all body types to be healthy the encouragement is to loose weight. Fat shaming is totally acceptable especially from medical professionals. And don’t get me started about how that label from earlier is to play into how I look. I should have long straight flowing hair, make-up done perfectly, be wearing wretched heels, and my clothes should trim my skinny body perfectly. After all isn’t that what my body, a girls body is supposed to look like?

How it is labeled, how it looks….but that isn’t enough is it? You also want to control what I do to my body. Heaven forbid I get any body modifications such as tattoos or piercings. I’ll never be marketable that way. Because body modifications clearly make me a less desirable person and I definitely cannot do my job appropriately if I have them. And what about elective medical procedures, well it depends. If I want perfectly sculpted breasts that’s fine, but of course “too much” plastic surgery is condemned.  Also, if I am transgender and want sex-reassignment surgery or breast augmentation forget it! That is unacceptable, probably because it is too out of your control.

Finally, what I do with my body.You want to control my body so that I don’t have sex with someone that is the same sex as me. You want to control my body so that I do not have sex at all until I’m married. Heaven forbid I  get pregnant from either my choice or someone else deciding to control my body. I certainly cannot control my body then.  I do not know what is best for me, so you have to make that decision,  abortion is definitley  not allowed. And when I have that baby, I cannot bare my breast to feed the new body that you are controlling because my breast is also under your control.

So let me tell you what I am going to do about all of this controlling of my body. I’m going to fight keep it mine. Because guess what IT IS MINE! I’m going to fight the status quo and label it the way I want. I’m going to focus on making my body look the way I want it to. I’m going to do with my body as I please and be twice as awesome than anyone who is under your control. I’m going to fuck who I want, choose what is best for me and bask in the beauty that is MY BODY!

Just try and cross me, see the wrath that me and my body can produce, just try.

All the love,


I am from….

So in one of our many Diversity Sessions at Institute we read a poem called “I am from”  and then we were asked to write and share ours.  So here it is.


I Am From backyard swimming and shuckin’ corn

Get back from wherever you are by the time the street lights are on

From family full and abundant with some whoops and additions always being brought in

From a community of all the same colored skin

I Am From struggling to keep up, to teaching my sister to read

from negative image to being me, truthfully and honestly, all the time, REAL

I Am From escaping the small town glory to the mid-rise midwest even with negative dollars to my name

From being far enough away to forget some of the pain brought on by a man w/o a name anymore except “Jerkface”

I Am From figuring out that the blacks and whites of this word don’t even begin to amount to all the gray inbetween especially when dealing with love

I am from leaving everything behind, everything that I know, over and over again in hopes that my presence and actions will be enough to change

This world.



The top five things I’ve learned or relearned from institute so far.

 1.       Students don’t care who you are, what you look like or what your weird quirks are; they just want someone to teach them, provide structure and care about them.

This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn throughout all of my training as an educator.  Before the first day of school I start worrying about what my students will be like and what they will think of me.  My trans identity definitely plays into this a lot.  I think that what I most fear is that my students will not be able to learn from me because they will be to bias or to distracted.  This past few weeks has shown me otherwise.  All six of my students are doing just fine.  In fact one of my students on a classroom culture survey put my name at the top as Mr. Miller and then said “she” for all the responses about me.  This past Friday on their exit slip (end of the day quiz type thing) she got 100%.  Clearly she is confused by my gender but it is not impeding her growth as a student.

2.       Structure is the key in all classrooms big or small.

The second day of class after finding out that I only had a few students I decided to sit in a circle with my students to teach them.  The problem was that since this was not the structure they are used to and since I did not present them with the structure of the day there was a lot of confusion and inevitably they did not get that much out of that day.  Now that we have a structure in place where my students come in start a “Do Now”, we have a lesson, work in groups/partners and then do independent practice they are doing so much better!

3.       It is better to get sleep than write the perfect lesson plan.

I have been going to sleep between 1 and 2am every night during the week.  This makes me extremely tired however there are other folks that are not going to be until 3-4am when we have to get up at 5-6am.  Inevitably, these folks are super tired and low energy in the classroom.  If you ask what they were doing the night before they will tell you that they were lesson planning.  This is ridiculous.  Lesson planning and practicing should not take that long.  Perfection is not going to happen.  When your perfect lesson plan goes awry you need to be on your toes and awake to manage it.  That is why sleep is more important that “the perfect lesson plan.”

4.       Be careful what you say, it will come back to bite you in the ass or come back to shower you with love.  Your words determine which it is.

If you are tying to give an example of something around your peers make sure to clarify to a T because if you are misunderstood you will end up with a confrontation on your hands.  This applies to both students and colleagues.  If you clarify everything and be pleasant and loving your words will make their way back around to you in the form of praise or adoration.

5.       Good teaching is good stealing with modification.

This is probably the most important lesson that I have learned.  Stealing a lesson plan without making it your own is a disaster.  However, there is no need to reinvent the wheel.  If I can find a lesson plan that teaches what I want to teach why not use the problem set or examples as mine.  I’ll modify the ideas to meet my needs as a teacher and spend half the time I would trying to formulate my own original idea.

Advocacy for Education

Since I am blogging about the variety of experiences that happen while I embark on this journey in Baltimore, I have a few people that ask more specific questions about the stuff I write.  So today I’m going to address a few questions that I was asked about my last blog and also relate my answers to what has been going on the past few days.


How will you advocate for your profession?

I think that I will do this in several ways.  First, as I am teaching I will be the best teacher possible so that my students grow and achieve beyond what people think is attainable.  I will work with parents and community members to build relationships. It may only take one teacher who reaches out to change the value that people place on education it may take fifteen teachers.  No matter what it takes I will work to at least be one teacher that makes a difference in the mindset of the parents and community that I live/work in.  It was discussed today that students are a product of our expectations and I think that teachers are often the product of the expectations that the community.  Additionally parents are often the product of the expectation of teachers.  If we don’t create a system where high expectations are the norm then there will never be respect for the profession of teaching.

Will you ever feel convicted to interrupt/interject into a conversation like on the train?

I have often spoken up against people who have made comments similar to the ones I heard on the train that day.  On this particular day it was early and I was not in the mood to get into the conversation with complete strangers.  When I have spoken up it usually does not come out with a positive ending.  Typically I end up more frustrated and the people don’t have any gained respect for the teaching profession.  Society has its mind made up and it doesn’t want to change anytime soon.  It is going to take holistic efforts both in the classroom and out by teachers, parents, students and other community members to change the perspective about the teaching profession.

Do you have aspirations to change people’s views, or do you believe that not to be appropriate?

I believe that it is very appropriate to want to change people’s views especially when it comes to something you are passionate about.  The important part is how you go about trying to change their views.  I could argue about education to people until I am blue in the face but it won’t change their mind.  I have to align my values with my profession and encourage my colleagues to do the same so that one day their minds will be changed.

And so it begins….

I am currently sitting in Barnes and Noble – John Hopkins/ Starbucks Cafe waiting several hours before we can check into our week long housing.  This morning was interesting already though.  I almost missed my flight but made it at the last moment so it was so fine.  The lady sitting next to me seemed annoyed at the beginning of the flight but then seemed to chill out as the flight went on.  Perhaps she was just cranky and tired at first, after all it was 6am.

On the train ride into Baltimore from the airport I overheard a very interesting conversation that I thought was rather ironic considering the circumstances.  These two people probably in their mid to late 20’s were discussing how nice it must be for teachers to get the summer off and how sure they work with bratty kids but the summer break would be worth it not to mention they ONLY work 8am-4pm, that MUST be nice.  Clearly these folks have never spent a day in a classroom as an adult, so it goes.  According to these geniuses  I’m about to embark on one of the easiest career choices possible… here’s to that!


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