Hi, I'm Mandi, and I teach 7th grade life science in the "second largest school district in Minnesota".
I grew up in foothills of Paha Sapa (the Black Hills) of South Dakota, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of South Dakota in 2008 with a double major in Chemistry and Theatre. Thanks to me, you are no longer allowed to double major across colleges at USD, so sorry about that lol.
After college, I joined the Missoula Children's Theatre and traveled around the United States and Canada for four years working with young thespians in towns big and small (mostly small). I visited 47 US states and four Canadian provinces and had a ball doing it. I had a brief break from tour in 2011 when I decided to crash with some friends in Seattle, WA. My high school prom date got me a job working at Red Light Vintage during the day, and I honed my karaoke skills at various locations on Capitol Hill by night.
In the fall of 2012, I decided to leave the nomad life behind. My mom gave me an ultimatum - either move to Fargo or Minneapolis. Several of my good friends from high school lived in Minneapolis, so away I went. A friend of a friend got me a job at Whole Foods Market, and I spent four years there working the cash register and sample tables.
After being passed over for a promotion and taking it very hard, I decided to go back to school to get my teaching license. I was fortunate to be a part of the final cohort of the Twin Cities Teacher Consortium or TC2. This experimental program had prospective teachers student teaching year round in classrooms four days of the week and taking classes on Mondays and during the summer. The program also had a strong social justice and anti-racist focus that informed many of my current beliefs and for that I am so grateful.
I spent that first summer as a licensed teacher working at Whole Foods and procrastinating about applying for jobs. Luckily, my current school posted a job in August of 2016, which I happily scooped up, and I have worked there ever since! I love my school and the community we have built.
Now on to TikTok... during distance learning, I started making TikToks to help teachers. Early on, I focused on sharing useful websites and making how-to's for the Google Suite. Then I branched out into making and sharing easy games and other community builders for the classroom. I slowly incorporated more "personality content" and was delighted to find a community on TikTok.
My channel gained a lot of attention in 2022 after I made a video sharing that there was a possibility of a joint strike involving my union, the St Paul Federation of Educators, and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers. Although my union reached an agreement and avoided a strike, I was deeply invested in MFT's strike and sharing their strength and solidarity with people all over the world.
TikTok has been a mixed bag of blessings. I have been made a boogeyman by a certain national news outlet, but I've also had the opportunity to share about my life and learn from so many of you. I played a tiny role in helping pass the universal school meals bill in Minnesota. LaborNotes invited me to present at their conference in Chicago. I even got to be on Good Morning America! I am humbled by your continued interest in the little thoughts in my head, and I'm so glad you're out there listening. 🖤
Sabocat in the News
No-cost school meals for all students clears first committee (MN House Session Daily)
Fox News is mad at a Minnesota teacher (Pharyngula)
Middle-school teacher asks students what pronouns to use when speaking to their parents (Washington Examiner)
Science teacher says biology lessons on cells are 'capitalist indoctrination' (Washington Examiner)
Minneapolis Marxist science teacher pushes students to 'have no respect for authority' (The Post Millennial)
Middle School Teacher Says: Capitalism Bad (Victory Girls Blog)