Heard the maxim ‘you can disagree without being disagreeable‘? RBG is noted for stating something to that effect, as is Obama, and perhaps several other cool-headed thinkers. For whatever reason, the saying has been rolling around in my head all week. If I place it side-by-side with my mother’s advice, ‘if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all,’ there appears to be a gap. How does one learn to debate hard ideas if one remains silent? Or take inconsistent data and view it from multiple angles? How do we disagree and still communicate? It is far larger than remaining quiet, isn’t it?
Year 29 is over, grades wrapped up, classroom straightened out, and kiddos graduated! Time to celebrate all the teachers from coast to coast, and applaud a job well-done during this extraordinarily challenging year. You & me & all the rest of us: we did it!
Reposting from 2018 when a “plague on both your houses” was just a emotional line shouted out in desperation and not a world-wild reality that carved out even more distinction between those billionaires holding power and the rest of us dealing with all the fallout of a collapsed economy, a non-stop pandemic, and the Republicans still causing havoc. Regardless, I must say, as Shakespeare’s words fill my classroom and the minds of my students once again, we reach for hope. Will we ever attain those lofty hopeful aims? Will the old white men clinging to their past power ever step aside and allow for a new dawn and vision for a more diverse America, a more sustainable Earth, and a truthful assessment of our current challenges? Let’s say yes, for tonight, let’s find that thread of faith that leads to hope and believe in a perhaps. Yes, let’s.
As I embark on a Shakespeare unit with my students, nine graders reading Romeo & Juliet and AP Lit reading Hamlet, we start with questions. Questions Elizabethan thinkers might have pondered in 1598; questions we still ponder in 2018. I am struck with our timeless preoccupation over destiny: Are we the masters of our own fate? I ask students to think and write about their beliefs on this topic. Certainly, these teens, like those penned by Shakespeare, want to believe they are, indeed, in control of their outcomes, while I, I who have screamed up at the Heavens in distress, frustrated by the unpredictability of chance, those ‘why me’ moments; “O, I am Fortune’s fool” situations. As if we are pulled by strings invisible to our own hands. Just when we want/need/hope for a different outcome we must settle for what is… but as I look across…
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