The 8th graders in front of me, the names I’m trying desperately to attach to a few inches of visible face, have not opened lockers since the winter of their 6th grade year.

On day one, I looked out at those faces, not knowing them at all, not knowing what…


The following is excerpted from Raising Ollie: How My Nonbinary Art-Nerd Kid Changed (Nearly) Everything I Know. Forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press, October 2021

THE MANY STORIES OF OLIVE

We are a family of story hoarders. The things we hang on our walls and display on our shelves…


My summer didn’t start great, if I’m honest, and I’m going to try my best to be honest.

Less than 24 hours after the last day of the worst ever year of teaching, I was sitting with this guy I’ve known forever. He was telling me that in his building…


You don’t need me to tell you that this year has been immeasurably hard. But, just in case no one has told you recently, this year has been immeasurably hard. …


I use the phrase “the work” a lot. I picked it up in educational equity circles where it is used with sweeping gestures to refer to all that is undone.

My poetry professor and mentor and the scariest and most wonderful human I’ve ever known, Michael Dennis Brown, often quoted…


Pictured: Me, being not very good at this.

I don’t talk about this much, but there is a plaque of me hanging in the Wisconsin High School Track and Field Hall of Fame. It’s near the back, so you may not have seen it on any of your visits. …


Clinton, 8th Grade

I met Clinton in my first year of teaching. He was a fourth grader, and small for a fourth grader, and also the only fourth grader that showed up on the first day of Chess Club. I really didn’t know that much about chess, but I knew even less about…


Everyone Seems So Sure About What We Read and How. I’ve Got Questions about Why.

The longer I go without being able to go anywhere or do anything, the more Twitter starts feeling like my real life. This can’t be good for me. This can’t be good for anyone.

I…


Thanks for All You Do!

Donuts²

Guided Meditation³

The phrase, “thank you for all you do”⁴

Ice Breakers⁵

Positivity⁶

Changes⁷

Promises of safety⁸

Giving up on the Big Stuff⁹

Standardized Tests¹⁰

[1] I’m doing all the self-care I know how, taking walks, reading books, journaling, drinking water, eating fiber. These things are ok, but I’m…


Pictured: Me (under boat)

I’ve got a really good feeling about what these kids are going to do when we finally do get them back into buildings full-time. I don’t really care how much work they got done this year. I don’t.

We always confused work with learning anyway. …

Thomas Rademacher

Author of ‘It Won’t Be Easy.’ 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year. @mrtomrad on everything. www.mrtomrad.com

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