One of my mother’s dreams was to write a book. And although that dream never became a reality, it’s a dream I inherited and gradually took on as my own. Finally in 2019, it happened: I published a book. Care at the Core: Conversational Essays on Identity, Education, and Power presents a collection of my online writing from the last several years.
On my personal blog, edfiedlistener, I started off writing about teaching and then education more generally. I was in the process of completing a summer Master’s program and found blogging to be a welcome outlet for my stash of ideas that seemed to be bubbling over. That was 2013. A year later, a trusted colleague invited me to join Twitter. Very quickly, things changed.
You may hear multiple reasons not to tune into the cacophony of political posturing, reckless social commentary and potential hate speech that has come to be associated with the short message platform. What I discovered, however, were many bright minds from wide ranging fields of interest and expertise who gathered to offer a remarkable diversity of voices, perspectives and communities. It didn’t take long before I found my way into “edutwitter” where educators were sharing resources, discussing pedagogy and building collaborative networks.
While I have since come to be quite critical of edtech and social media, platforms such as Wordpress, Twitter, and Medium have offered me the tools to create a writer’s profile that I would never have imagined a decade ago. In my essays, I provide a bit of background to this progression of finding an audience, co-constructing communities and discovering my unique voice among hundreds of educator bloggers and commentators. I write about being a Physical Educator and about being Black woman in predominantly white spaces, for instance.
What surprised me as I began sorting and selecting the pieces that formed the sections of the book was that fewer teaching-specific essays than I expected made the cut. Rather, the collection itself represents my fascination with big picture thinking and being “an all-terrain learner” who “will not simply ‘stay in my lane’.”
The title “Care At The Core” harks back to a graduate school assignment on theories of practice. Number one on my list read: “Care must be at the core of everything we do.” Only when the book was nearly finished were my editor and I able to recognize care as the unifying theme.
The lesson of this project for me has been discovering what I am in fact writing about. Is it memoir? Sometimes. Education how-to? Nope. Social and political commentary? To a surprising degree, yes. Black feminist reflection? Sure. Identity and power? All. the. Time. I’ve also learned that a book is a long term engagement. Once it’s out in the world it can take on a life of its own finding readers in unexpected places at unlikely times.
For me the book feels like a container. It holds a collection - multiple pieces of writing on a variety of topics - which allows a reader to jump around, to check out what calls to them. I invite readers to enjoy them like an ongoing buffet with care, learning and conversation as thematic flavorings.
Care At The Core - Conversational Essays on Identity, Education and Power, 2019. Tredition GmbH. Care at The Core presents essays that explore the intersections and overlap of identity, education, and power. Drawing on observations from a vibrant life of learning through reading, writing, listening, and dialoging, Sherri Spelic asks us to rethink the world we are building for ourselves and our children in schools, in our communities, in our societies.
Sherri Spelic has taught elementary Physical Education at the American International School Vienna since 1996. She has an MA in Sport Psychology and an MEd in Independent School Leadership. She blogs frequently on a variety of topics and is founder of the online publication, Identity, Education and Power which invites educator commentary on the intersections of those three themes. Her essay collection, Care At The Core, was released in 2019.