Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Just sharing...

I loved teaching first grade until it became impossible to do everything needed to take care of the students of our school.  Too many apathetic teachers all around, I started to feel pissed off that no matter how much I did, it could not be enough.  Arriving early, staying late, being on more committees, making more banners,  buying more materials to support a better  learning environment.  I did not know how to do and care less.  I left the only job that ever mattered because I could not handle that people, who did not even pretend to care a little, were allowed to have the same job title, pay, and access to children.
I am not bragging.  This is a show of my deficiency and inability to detach and to manage discomfort.

Education is so screwed up.  It feels as if quality education is exclusive to the already educated. I cannot accept that in order to be a part of large scale success, I have to "teach" at a school within a thriving community.
Unable to view children as mine for only a year,  I see them as people with whom I will continue to share this world.  They will grow to be moral and productive or they will not.  My lacking insulation of excessive wealth guarantees that I be affected.

I did in fact make a difference in the lives of many students, even ones who were not technically "mine".  But teaching in an under performing community which is what I wanted, meant for all intents and purposes, I would fail more than succeed.  Because  if children are allowed to turn 5 and not know their god damn colors, numbers, and letters and then enroll in first grade when they are too young developmentally as well as 3-5 years behind academically, chances are that even after their 180 days(with perfect attendance, right?) with me, they will not be ready for second grade.  Since growth  is no measure of success, I know right away on day 1 that anything short of a miracle or fluke will not grant these children the 5 years of vocabulary and critical thinking that they have somehow been denied.  Seriously,  how is it possible that a typical child, through daily life and interaction, can be void of what is common and age appropriate knowledge.  I get that talking to your kids in a way that is meaningful is time consuming and typically a middle to upper class value/luxury.  Given that reality, it seems that there should be support for those who are genuinely unable to do for themselves, because, guess what!  They, the poor and illiterate, multiply the fastest!  Government unwilling to fund preschool and kinder but forking it out for prison systems makes me sick!  It really no longer matters so much what teachers do(at an academic level)...because ultimately communities often perform in spite of their teachers, reflecting community culture, values, and history.

I appreciate Obama's racially neutral position, addressing the lack of support for and from families to take care of the children, the decline of education and society with the rise in unemployment and poor health.  It is frightening to think that some rogue clan member is as likely to go after our President as an angry African American who feels betrayed by this call for accountability.

I am beyond humbled by Obama's desire for presidency.   That he even ran for president guaranteed that he and his family shall never again be safe.  And still it was too important for him to forgo.  Perhaps at some point he will be allowed to align his vision with his policy.  His hands tied in so many directions, four years will not be nearly enough to stop the bleeding left by previous administrations.  Have we ever had a more brave man in office?  Rivaling  his bravery is his noble risk taking.

Last week, on Grey's Anatomy, Meredith concluded by saying:  In surgery, the healing process begins with a cut, an incision, the tearing of flesh. We have to damage the healthy flesh in order to expose the unhealthy. It feels cruel and against common sense, but it works. You risk exposure for the sake of healing, and when it's over, once the incision has been closed, you wait. You wait and hope that your patient will heal. That you haven't in fact, just made everything worse. Anyway, it reminds me of our predicament. Healthy communities unwilling to be burdened by any change intended to support the overall health of our nation's people.

I don't know.  Maybe I totally missed the point.  It was cool to have a deep thought about something of interest.  This post began as a response to Michele a great cheerleader and champion for me.  I am not sure why.  xoxo


  1. It really is sad how some kids are just not given much of a chance at all... and then they expect the teachers to perform miracles, when like you said, it is almost too late and past those critical ages.

  2. Very well put. I agree with you very much about Obama. And I like the Grey's Anatomy analogy. I bet you had even more impact on those kids than you even realized. Enjoyed your post :)

  3. This was a wonderfully written post. I wish that so many people could read it. I think you should send it to Obama.

  4. I think you should send this to Obama as well.
    Glad you expanded on your thoughts more from our email, and made a post out of it.
    That was amazing, and beautifully written.
    You have so much to share, it's a shame that those of us with morals, ideals, and the strength to make "real change" (and yes, I'm talking about YOU) are the ones that the system seem to break with all it's bullshit!

    Your passion is incredible. It is women of strong spirit like yourself that can make a difference!
    Just sayin' . . .

  5. Wow. Very well written and so true. Quite eye opening and thought provoking too, coming from one who taught at the other end of the spectrum.

  6. thanks ladies, fellow moms, and teachers. just another rant on a more global topic.

  7. Dearest Magda, I have so many things to say after I finished reading this wonderful post. But first things first: {{{{hugs}}}} Mr. Monk from day one has been worried about Obama's life. "There have been many presidents that have been assassinated. (He didn't know the word and I had to finish saying it for him) I am scared for him!" and then "I never want to be a president because I don't want to be killed." Something is wrong with this world when a 7yo is worried about POTUS being offed. Just sayin...

    That quote from Grey's that you applied to what's going on is THE MOST FITTING, MOVING, REASONABLE, CORRECT perspective, I believe, we all in need to adopt towards evaluating the current administration. It is simply awesome. I third the suggestion: you should send it to Obama. And I am not kidding.

  8. you are generous and kind. feel free to print this and send it on my behalf. addressing and sealing envelopes, as well as getting them in the mail is something i rarely do. i am sad for your little monk and all those little old souls with sensitivity to the world around. ignorance is bliss. awareness is its own curse. my little guy senses the need for big worries as well. concerns that many would brush off and minimize in an effort "to comfort"...or what i consider to be dismissing.

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Your thoughts are welcome here. As long as they are kind. Or maybe just not unkind.