Say Gay. Praise Science. Condemn War. Carry on.

Oh my what a week. Not that I’m surprised. I mean, 2022 has been a ton of crazy from the get go. And now, when we look at the hubbub in the south, we wonder, what has Florida done now? A state notable for its high poverty rate, disastrous infrastructure, and abysmal salaries for teachers and all those we praised as essential workers just 24 months ago. Snowbirds flock there on their measly social security or atrocious pensions to eke out their last days with some sunshine and air conditioning just to avoid income tax, (no blame at all– you have all my best hopes for better days and sunsets). Of course I can’t discredit the extraordinary Florida juicy oranges which fuel my soul during the coldest of months AND the most aquamarine ocean this side of the Mediterranean. But politics? Nope. DeSantis is rude, wrong, and just too arrogant for me, from how he talks to teens to what he says about them. Can you disagree? Eye to eye, can you really?

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Starry Nights

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 the classroom at my students, into their hopeful eyes, their exuberant optimism, I see their uniform belief that yes, they are masters of their fate. They aren’t phased by headlines or politicians’ lies; they see their own trajectory as it slants up and beyond, straight into the starry night. Straight into heaven.

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