About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mind Your Tees

      It’s back-to-school time which means, as a teacher, I’m forced to look at my students’ t-shirts.  Call me old-fashioned, but certain shirts should not be manufactured.  But they are.  And worse still is that someone buys them for my students, my students wear them to school, and I have to look at them.  

I’m talking about shirts that are just “bad attitude shirts.”  I’m sure you’ve seen them, but in case you haven’t, here’s a small sample:
“Homework kills trees”
“Homework - just say no”
“See no homework, Hear no homework, Do no homework”
“I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me”
“Here comes trouble”

Certainly, any t-shirt that is overtly offensive is not allowed at school.  However, I think that a school’s dress code should take the matter one step further.  I don’t think teachers should have to look at their students wearing shirts that belittle our profession and our efforts.

We (my co-workers, principal, and I) did discuss these t-shirts at a recent faculty meeting, in hopes of coming to a school-wide consensus.  Some teachers felt very strongly that asking students not to wear these t-shirts was an infringement of the students’ first amendment right to free speech.   I was even more unsettled that many of the teachers who felt this way were parents who claimed to have purchased these types of shirts for their own school-age children.  If we want to discuss first amendment rights, a portion of mine are left at the front-door as I enter school each day.  I am not supposed to discuss my preference for different politicians, for example.  Why should my students be exempt?  I don’t see it as a free-speech issue, I see it as a respect and decency issue.  Some teachers seemed not to care one way or the other.  These are teachers that come to school wearing shirts that act as advertisements - for colleges, for old movies (The Goonies), for clothing lines (Pink).  

And while homework may not be my students’ favorite thing about school; after-school meetings are certainly not my favorite part of school either.  And I would never wear a shirt that claims, “I don’t do meetings.”


  1. I think it is really disgusting that shirts are made with such horrible sayings on them,and more so that parents buy them for their children.There is no excuse for this and it is also disgusting to see teachers wearing shirts with sayings on them also.Call me old fashion,but a teacher should dress looking professional and a child should no way be wearing shirts with such horrible sayings on them.If a teacher dressed as they do when I was in school they would have been sent to deal with the principal as would a child dressed with sayings on their shirts.As a teacher you should not have to be looking at those sayings all day.I love reading your work.I love you and I am so proud of you.

  2. I can relate to where you are coming from. I am very distrubed when a player shows up to play golf wearing blue jeans and a tee shirt. Shorts are another issue, they seem to be getting shorter and shorter, this applies to men and women. I also don't understand why many men do not shave everyday. I enjoy your blog. Your Mother and I are proud of you.

    Love, Dad

  3. Honey,
    I agree with you that the shirts that kids are wearing these days are very cynical and disrespectful. Your writing is amazing and gets right to the heart of the matter. I am so proud of you and your dedication to your writing craft.