Happy Valentine’s Day from Fearless Learning!

In honor of the holiday, may I please present this wonderful drawing, done by one of my students (with a little help from my iPad, which is an awesome teaching tool). I’m told it’s a picture of me, and I love it!



It’s Important for Teachers to Keep This in Mind…

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal” (SMBC) is a clever, science-minded webcomic that is not appropriate for your young kids. Also note that the content tends to be very politically liberal and often mocks or disputes religion. Read at your own risk.

Edit: The author of SMBC, Zach Weiner, has gently objected (via Twitter; I’ve never actually met him) to my characterization of his comic as “liberal,” so I feel obligated to clarify. His comic is progressive and irreverent, and it sometimes makes fun of conservatives. It is not meant to promote any specific political movement, and the philosophies explored by Weiner defy political classification. SMBC really isn’t a political comic at all except that science vs faith is, unfortunately, a political issue. SMBC is a comic about science and society, and some people will be offended by the content.

Is that better, Zach?

Starting the New Week

I don’t feel ready to move on.

Over the weekend, a friend admitted that he couldn’t grieve for people he never knew.  We aren’t grieving for strangers, I told him.  The teachers of this country are grieving for every child we’ve ever known, because this tragedy has forced us to consider their mortality, their fragility.  My energetic, enthusiastic, inquisitive students are not supposed to be mortal.

We know the world is dangerous.  When we look both ways and hold hands as we cross the street, when we say good morning to the security guards outside our schools, we know that we’re working to keep the danger out.  And we feel powerful, when we wash germs off a cut or fasten a helmet.  But we try to forget that our students are naked in a world of sharp metal.  We believe that children are protected, the way we want to always protect them.  We look at our students’ faces and cannot imagine someone deliberately causing them harm.

People who aren’t prone to anxiety often feel protected from danger.  For someone with an anxiety disorder, though, “it couldn’t happen to me” is an unfamiliar and absurd mantra.  “Of course it will happen to me” is more resonant.  Of course I will be the one person who falls out of this roller coaster and breaks her neck.  Of course I’ll get food poisoning from this new restaurant.  Of course a shooter will come into my classroom.  While working at a daycare a few years ago, I spent my free time coming up with strategies for protecting the children from danger.  Because the only “security” between us and the public was a perky college student behind a desk, I struggled to design plans and backup plans to protect the kids in case someone came in with a gun.  I have anxiety, so “it couldn’t happen to me” has never entered my thoughts.  But when I looked at those kids, and when I look at my students, my brain screams “it couldn’t happen to them.”   Nothing terrible could ever happen to such wonderful children.  No one could ever want to hurt them.  The horror I’ve felt for the past four days comes from knowing that the teachers and parents of Sandy Hook must have looked at their  beautiful children the same way.

I don’t feel ready to move on from that.

Welcome, Ms. Kiri Clients

If you’re trying to visit http://www.MsKiri.com, you’re here! Ms. Kiri Education is now Fearless Learning by Ms. Kiri. The new website will officially premiere this week, but you’re getting a sneak preview.

An important note: the email addresses associated with the old site no longer work. To contact me, please use the contact form. Thanks!


Welcome to Ms. Kiri’s official blog! I’m really excited to finally be doing this, but I’m also pretty new to blogging. Thanks to the clients and friends who encouraged me to start this, and a big thanks to those of you who are reading right now! I can’t wait to start sharing my experience and advice on anxiety, giftedness, and education.