M Neely

Fumbling and Bumbling Through Life

Bagging Potatoes


Thanks for listening

But these stories don’t mean anything

without someone to tell them to

I think Brandi Carlile has it right. The stories of our lives, what we’ve experienced, what we’ve seen don’t mean anything without someone to listen.

So here’s to you!

For listening to my stories and my ramblings.

First Impressions

I’m standing on the edge.


Today I started another new adventure: I’ve registered as an affiliate marketer. As I am beginning to understand the network that surrounds affiliate marketing, I know it’s important to choose programs that match not only my interests, but also offer quality services or products.

How do I choose?

First impressions make all the difference.

What do I want my first impression as an affiliate marketer to be?

Just whenI start to panic that I will make the wrong choice and as a result the wrong impression, I remember what I always told my students:

Read critically. Read carefully.

Don’t you hate it when your own teaching comes back to reteach you!

Who’s the teacher?

One of the aspects I miss the most about being outside of the classroom, is students teaching students.

I was a technology teacher last year and was in way over my head. I was trying to set up student blogs and give my students exposure to google apps with a little bit of podcasting sprinkled here and there.

The best resources I had were the other fifth graders in the class. They blew me away with their ability to navigate, investigate and articulate what they had learned.

I’m always on the lookout for teachers who are letting students have teach other students. Check out what Joshua Rosenberg is doing with his students!

Embedded Methodology

In the midst of my reading for divinity school, I encountered the term “embedded theology,” which is

A theology deeply in place and at work as we live

The discussion distinguishes between embedded theology and deliberate theology or a chosen theology. Embedded theology is often not questioned, but causes us to make decision. If that embedded theology goes unchecked or unquestioned often we are making decisions based on assumptions or beliefs that we haven’t challenged since high school.

Now the theology might not be interesting to you, but if you have worked in a school for any length of time, you realize teachers also hold embedded methodology.

In other words, teachers are making decisions about what kind of assessments, who talks and who listens in the classroom and even decisions about the physical layout of their classroom based on their embedded methodology. If this embedded methodology isn’t changed into deliberate methodology or chosen methodology, then the teacher will ride every wave of top-down program and “new” ideas that float his/her way.

So why does it matter?

If, as teachers, we can’t articulate why we are doing what we are doing in the classroom, then we have no chance of becoming the decision makers of our own profession.

It’s time to challenge and question our embedded methodology.

It’s time to choose deliberate methodology.

Getting Started

I am getting started in affiliate marketing at a perfect time. There are so many resources available to help me learn the in and outs of affiliate marketing. There is also an incredible network of affiliate marketers.

PayPerTrends Affiliate Summit and ShareaSale have been great starting points, but thanks to Jim Kukral’s tweet, I’ve found Missy Ward and a group of female affiliate marketers who are pros.

It’s hard making the jump from being a teacher with a regular schedule to zoom out and see that teaching doesn’t just happen in a classroom.

Looking forward to what’s ahead!

From the Outside Looking In

Yesterday at the SWP Fall Renewal Conference, Barry Lane  entertained us with song parodies about the cultural climate of the public school system. He’s a good writer and he knows teachers. It was nice to be able to laugh at the ridiculous turn that public schools have taken.

But as I looked at my fellow laughing colleagues, I felt scared.

This summer as I was a part of the Spartanburg Writing Project’s Summer Institute, we were encouraged to find our professional voice. As I found mine, I realized how much teachers have been silenced. I realized how scared teachers are. I realized how few teachers there were who wanted or willing to do anything about it.

I felt scared yesterday because these teachers and I were laughing about being not being treated as professionals. We were laughing at being silenced.

I don’t work at a school. I don’t work for a district. I’m an outsider in a lot of ways, but I know the pressures that you as teacher feel everyday because I’ve been there.

From the outside looking in, we shouldn’t be laughing. We should be outraged.


Teacher Without a Classroom

I attended Spartanburg Writing Project’s Fall Renewal Conference yesterday. All of the attendees had name tages with their school or district name on them.

I didn’t.

I didn’t have a school.

I didn’t have a district.

But I am a teacher.

It’s seems like a contradiction.

How can you be a teacher without a school?

How can you be a teacher without a classroom?

And there in lies the future of education.

Market Smarter

Teachers have long resisted outsiders who compare public schools to a business model, citing results and products as the most important determining factor for funding and teacher pay scales.

This idea discounts and forgets that humans are unpredictable, especially third graders!

Current state mandates are pressurizing the classroom and teachers. We are worried about losing funding. We fear losing our jobs if we don’t produce results.

These aren’t the biggest concerns for me as a young teacher. For me, it even scarier to see teachers who have lost their passion for teaching, for learning and worst of all children.

Sam Harrelson of PayPerTrends writes:

So, follow your passion(s). It will take time, but it will be worth your time, trouble and investment if you keep the fire alive.

Another bit of advice from successful bloggers:

So, find your passion first. Soon, money will follow.

If the government were getting paid for the number of times teachers, administrators and parents use the terms “test scores,” “AYP” or “at risk,”  our schools would be fully funded. They have marketed hard and fast to scare teachers into thinking they don’t know what they are doing.

We need to be smarter marketers. Keep the fire alive.

Creating Something Beatiful

In the middle of this new pathway, I am discovering that there are many more similarities than I thought there would be. I am entrenched in tons of reading and critical thinking both of which I love.

In one of my commentaries, in talking about the creation, the authors say that creation isn’t over, but rather that humans share a responsibility to participate in creation for the great purpose of

bringing the world along toward it’s fullest possible potential.

Although I wasn’t as articulate as this commentary, I would tell my students continuously that I believed that they could change the world. I would tell them that we need them to discover new and better ways to live and interact with each other. I would tell them that they were creators.

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire, ’cause I just want something beautiful
To touch me, I know that I’m in reach
‘Cause I am down on my knees, I’m waiting for something beautiful
Oh,Oh,Oh something beautiful

Need to Breathe “Something Beautiful”