one big dream we don't give up/
steel-eyed through the pressure drop
I limped back into school, 5:50 in the pitch-black morning, dragging, dragging like that most jaded of cubicle dwellers, and preceded to just suck for the entire (thankfully shortened) week. And yeah, there are a lot of pots that need stirring, a lot of strands in the Duder's head, but there's no excuse for this kind of behavior, mopey and disengaged, reminded of my buddy [Victory]'s fervent desire to bring a series of index cards to a high school reunion with preprinted answers to the questions he knew he'd be asked. Except I want recordings of myself saying shit like: "computer columns, put your fluency books and folders away," "make sure you have a complete heading on this," "sentences start with capital letters." I'll press play and sit behind my desk with my head down. It's never been like this before.
I don't want to write about merit pay.
I don't want to write about the creep of the privatizing Visigoths.
I don't want to write about the inevitable let-down of the basketball season.
I think we're all slogging a little, all of us at school, trying to dig deep, dredge the bottom of this well. It's like everyday is July 3, 1964, mid-afternoon, the day after the Civil Rights Act was signed, and we've awaken with hang-overs the size of battleships, thick-tongued and gravel-throated, maybe next to a dance partner we didn't exactly arrive with, and all the violent passion of the previous days is draining down and away, and you look around and (endlessly) wonder, fuck man, now what?
At a recent gathering, a friend said: "I don't care what's new, I don't want to find the things I should be doing, I don't have the energy to make the changes I need to make, the kids are annoying the piss outta me, so it's time to leave." And let's all raise a glass to the integrity in that, in the understanding that it's just fine to mail it in when you're pre-approving folks for a new Discover card, but damn near criminal when you're teaching where we teach, with the kids who so fundamentally need us to rise about the job description outlined in your collective bargaining agreement. When she said that, I think I muttered "no shit" and the whole room looked at me: "You too?"
I don't know.
I told the POY I needed a new assignment, not the on-grade level kids necessarily, not the ones who'll do whatever I say and then ask if they can wash my car and go buy me Jamba Juice, but maybe some kids whose classroom existence alters the vast input vs. output imbalance just a little. Maybe some barely there Basic kids, and I'll make sure every one is proficient and redesignated by the end of the year. They don't need to utilize fluent English, or know how to write, or really know anything at all, but maybe they could possess a little bit longer runway for the skills I'm trying to land on their brains. Because I keep cracking my skull on all the crash-landings and aborted take-offs, and it hurts.
Today we worked on this High Point A passage for 12 minutes.
DAISY: Oh, look! There's a sign on that post! Let's go
see what it says.
I just wanted to know what Daisy saw, and why she and Edith were leaving the store. That's all. That's it. Twelve minutes, I swear to God, excluding the time it took to project a googled image of a lamp-post. Twelve minutes. We didn't even get to the part where we predict what the sign might say, based on the context provided by the previous two pages of text.
And the email says, we know you are doing great things to drive student achievement.
And the email says, this illustrates examples of exemplary writing.
And the email says, you truly inspired me in Tucson.
And the email says, you can dramatically impact student outcomes as the Director of various teacher-training programs in Oakland.