ALSO BY KELLY FLYNN
THE NEW YORK TIMES
Booming - Living Through the Middle Ages
EDUCATION WEEK TEACHER
Teacher in a Strange Land Blog - Nancy Flanagan
Call it a Story: Defining Our Profession
Living in Dialogue Blog - Anthony Cody
GO: AIRTRAN INFLIGHT MAGAZINE
THE FLINT JOURNAL
The Back Story - During the year of Columbine, after we had what felt like our tenth bomb threat at my school, it occurred to me that the general public just doesn’t understand what it’s like to teach school in the 21st century.
I think I must have been a messenger in another life, because I had the most compelling feeling that I had to speak up, that I could do more for education, and teachers, by telling this story than I could by standing in front of kids all day.
I started keeping a teaching journal, mostly as a way to save my sanity. Though my mom and my sister kept telling me to write a book, that seemed a bit daunting at the time. I was looking for something more immediate.
Drawing from that journal I created a set of newspaper columns and pitched the idea of an education column from a teacher’s point of view to the editor of our city paper, The Flint Journal.
The first weekly column ran on September 12, 2002 in the Grand Blanc Community Journal, a small community paper owned by Booth Newspapers, The Flint Journal’s parent company. A few weeks later it ran in all eight of The Community Newspapers, owned by Booth and published by The Flint Journal. Six months later it was moved to the Sunday op-ed page of The Flint Journal, where it ran for seven years.
The column was also picked up by another city paper, the Jackson Citizen Patriot in Jackson, Michigan, where it ran for three years.
For the record, I was not an employee of The Flint Journal or the Jackson Citizen Patriot. However, as a freelance columnist I turned in -- and they published -- 350 consecutive columns.
What can I say? Teachers are tenacious.