I'm a high school math and special education teacher working to build a mindful and militant teacher movement. I'm seeking funds to further my own individual zen and mindfulness practices (by paying appropriate dana contributions to my teachers, attending retreats, taking classes) and to take what I've learned and teach them to other teacher activists (leading meditation groups, starting a blog and mailing list, writing, presenting at conferences).
As a high school math teacher who focuses on working with students with learning disabilities, I've come to realize how the structural problems of the education system keep my students from being able to learn math. I work at a charter school, which means we work long hours with ever increasing workloads for virtually no pay. Most of my students are really struggling in school, but the teachers are so burnt out emotionally and physically that it is hard to really give the students the attention they deserve. At the school I work at, a teacher quits almost every week, enough that we joke that our school's motto should be “another one bites the dust.” I hear these concerns echoed from my friends that teach at other public schools.
As a lifelong Unitarian Universalist, social justice activism comes naturally to be - from as young as I can remember, I learned to ask when confronted with a social problem: Why must things be this way? What can we do to change this? In high school, I discovered zen, and have participated in a variety of different Zen groups, starting with the Santa Cruz Zen Center, continuing my practice at the San Francisco Zen Center, and most recently practicing with the Empty Gate Zen Center. I have also recently began to study secular mindfulness, completing the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course (MBSR) last year and taking a 4 month course on qi gong at the Wen Wu School. Currently, I'm six months into a year long training program on applying mindfulness in activist contexts called Practice in Transformative Action.
I have been been pursuing a variety of strategies to bring both practical mindfulness techniques and a radical social theory into teacher activist movements. I've decided to unify these projects that I've been working on under the umbrella name of METTA: Mindfulness and Epistemology Transforming Teacher Activism.
I'm seeking funds to further my own individual zen and mindfulness practices (by contributing to the livelihood of my teachers, attending retreats, taking classes) and to take what I've learned and teach them to other teacher activists (leading meditation groups, starting a blog and mailing list, writing instructional materials for others to teach mindfulness in teacher activist contexts, purchasing union-printed business cards, and presenting at conferences). A specific budget for this initial launch is below. I'm envisioning this initial launch of METTA to take six months. A more specific timetable is below as well.
Feb 9 - Feb 14th: Create a domain name, create a blog and begin blogging, create a mailing list
Feb 27-Mar 7: Attend an 8-day zen meditation retreat
March 3- April 28: Enroll in and complete level 1B of the Qigong class
March 13: Begin teaching meditation class at my place of work (pending approval from my employer)
March 16- March 22: Identify 2 conferences to present at and submit proposals to those conferences
Mar 30- April 5: Develop a concept and publish an announcement for a virtual mindfulness group for teacher activists
April 27- May 3: Begin mindfulness group for teacher activists
Monthly through July: Attend social justice oriented mindfulness meditation teacher training classes
Web Hosting and domain name registration for one year: $100
Union Printed Business Cards: $100 (It's a lot more expensive to have them printed at a union print shop, but i think showing solidarity with other parts of the labor movement is essential for this project)
Office Supplies: $100
Contributions to my meditation teachers: $500
8-Day Retreat Fees (and Wage Replacement): $1500
Level 1B Qigong Class: $120
Gift Shipping/Production Costs: $98 (Depending on which gifts people opt for and how many people contribute, this could cost more than this, but I'm willing to make up the difference with personal funds if need be)
There's a 3.4% paypal transaction fee, and I am planning to vountarily donate 20% of what i raise to dana.io for site operation costs and to further their mission. (Most crowdfunding sites charge a percentage of what you raise, while dana.io relies on voluntary contributions).
Thus, the total amount I'm seeking to raise is $3287.21. The math is a little tricky, but here it is for those of you that are curious (remember, I'm a math teacher):
Let x = total amount raised. $2518 is the total amount amount I need after the fees and donation are subtracted.
Then 1x-.2x-.034x = $2518
and therefore: x = $3287.21