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February 2015

Indulge in @PleasureEllis

If you are feeling blue and the world is overwhelming you, then check out the extra special Twitter account belonging to this young, positive-thinking African American male. His tweets were the first place I looked this morning for inspiration and relief after a long Wednesday workday, followed by a hectic, traffic-snarled ride home. 

Ellis is an articulate man with a talent for music, but somehow he manages to remain charming and humble; an unusual character trait for someone living in Hollywood with over 1.4 million followers. 

I work in the education industry, and I am often privy to outlandish comments and conversations based on the meager successes of people with little to brag about, but seemingly experts in every academic pursuit. And suddenly I will encounter a truly gifted person insistent on downplaying their obvious talents, and I will be reminded of Ellis and his fascinating gift to all of his followers: a balanced and humble outlook.

All of us are familiar with the Block and Report button, but you will never need it with Pleasure Ellis. He doesn't put us through the agonizing torture of big rear-ends, topless narcissistic selfies, and fake obscene medical articles. He isn't even trying to romance any women.

Instead, you will be introduced to a world of caring positivity, a bit of self-help advice, and pictures of beautiful people or places mingled with his unique perspectives concerning God and our relationships with each other.

This is why I check @PleasureEllis as often as possible. 

The Blunt Educator: Tweet Critique

 An "unfiltered voice" for what we would like to say but maybe shouldn't.

With almost 17,000 followers,  the Blunt Educator has a dedicated group of fans. One of the reasons that I enjoy this teacher's tweets, is that just by seeking employment in the education industry you lose some of your ability to express your disagreements with campus and public policy. This writer provides us with a humorous format in which to privately laugh and ponder our impossible dilemma. 

I check @blunteducator everyday just to see what is actually trending. You can also join in on an #eduality chat. This can become interesting, especially when the public perception intersects with the working teacher's reality. Teacher reality isn't in tandem with the "civilian" population's perception. And if a teacher is living a lush, laid-back, secure, lifestyle without oversight, it's because he or she is in one of those cushy, corrupt positions supplied by a "friend."

We know nepotisms and oligarchies happen within districts, and we know where it happens and why. But most of us have never experienced anything except a barn-burning initiation into the living hell of injustice and harsh judgment that real-world classroom teachers endure.

Thank the Blunt Educator for touching on important issues without spite or malice and for reminding us to put our students first, while taking pride in our work. No matter what is making your work life miserable: low morale, shocking student behaviors, shocking teacher behavior, irate administrators, stunning ignorance, or meddlesome troublemakers, you will feel like your issue is covered on the Blunt Educator.

Retired teachers frequently write "tell all" books and essays, but it is very unusual for a full time teacher with a real contract to write informative, honest stories about the realities of school employment. We might be tempted, and we might be collecting journal entries and notes, but most of us are not willing to compromise our livelihood, even if it is the "right" thing to do.  

 But in our moments of reflection, we think about the people we know: the ones with no certification, subject area degree, or common sense, and the parents that scream and yell into the phone. We remember the mouthy little kid with the helicopter parent, and the administrator we once had that abused her power by intentionally mistreating campus employees, ultimately creating a miserable place to work. We remember the complaining, whining, coteacher that should have been bounced from the campus just for her tendency to gossip. We think of the round faced, bug-eyed teacher that got away with abusing his students...and we want to write those stories, because we have a surplus of material for fiction or nonfiction text.

We would like to exercise our First Amendment Right just like any other American. In the meantime, we have Twitter accounts like @BluntEducator