This week a student mentioned that we were on the brink of civil war. Not sure what the context was, since this snippet of conversation happened in the busiest of classroom moments. In a completely other class, on an entirely different day, another student mentioned that we would be embroiled in WWIII before the month was over. There is much weight on our youth these days. My students, like all the others clear across this country, regularly practice what to do if an armed and dangerous person comes into the school to gun them down. Their last three years were interrupted by a global pandemic that has in fact infected many of them, and for some, left lingering health problems. Fear resides at the core of their being. Anxiety is discussed between them with an air of universality. They are equally troubled by what lies ahead. About our sickened planet, our dismal response to gun violence, the absence of empathy for the refugees at our border, and for the robed ones dictating over women’s bodies. They want our flag to stand for them, the queer, BIPOC, trans, questioning and demanding generation. The whole of this revolving planet is on the brink of extinction, they fear.
Tag Archives: School
How Can I Still Love Teaching You Ask?
How can I still be in a classroom, and still love teaching, even this year, you might ask? Well it isn’t necessarily due to anything particularly done by the greater public or certainly not all the ups and down of working around COVID protocols. There is just something that happens when, text in hand, I sit among readers and writers, and we talk complex characters or plot twists or even a last word, that just fuels me. We are in need of some hope, and whether plodding though Shakespeare’s Hamlet or being somewhat horrified by Shelley’s Frankenstein, or discovering the images and poetry generated during the short life of Basquiat, my student’s visions and imagery and words grant a faith in mankind I might not have found without them.
Blue Sky Action
I really love my job, and nothing could have proven it faster than taking it away from me. Driving up the lamp-post lined Copley Hill to the hundred year old brick building with a hummingbird mural and entering to walk the creaky wood floors to my classroom, the same one I have stood in surrounded by fabulous individuals for over two decades, was my day to day. I miss unlocking that door, greeting the quiet few who always arrive early. Now I get ready for class at our dining room table in the one large space that is kitchen, dining, and living room combined, with windows facing all four directions. Notebook to scribble thoughts for the day, laptop open to a dozen tabs, hot black tea at my elbow, I’m slowly working out how to engage for 45 minutes via a fuzzy and often interrupted google meet twice weekly with my students. Like everyone I know in the school system, I am nonstop problem-solving, whether with curriculum shifts, individual student conferences, talking to para-educators and special educators or with concerned parents. By 4:00 most days I’m intellectually challenged and emotionally drained. But by 4:00 what I’m mostly aware of is how much I miss my students. Miss that class room life. Not every second of it, but most every second with them and all their hope. All their blue sky action.