This current Covid / schools statement is rubbish. Again, I’m agreeing schools need to re-open. I’m disagreeing with their lack of concern for educators. Their verbiage is objectively lousy, and it needs to be said.
Friends, I try not to go on long posts, but forgive me. This is a summer of upheaval – and given so many other issues, perhaps this is less important. I recognize that. Given my background and current role, I feel like maybe I can do something here (probably not, but I have to try). This may not be important to you, and if it isn’t, just ignore this blog right now.
During the 1968 Olympics, African American athletes from the United States that gave the “Black Power” salutes in support of the civil rights movement were LOUDLY derided. The International Olympic Committee kicked Tommie Smith and John Carlos out of the Olympics simply for bowing their heads and raising a fist during the national anthem. That was peaceful – and made too much of white America uncomfortable almost 52 years ago. Sounds a lot like today, doesn’t it? Why do we get to be “comfortable” with a protest, unless if the only outcome is that we don’t want to be bothered under any circumstance?
I feel compelled, due to recent current events, to explain a few things about me and this blog. By nature, blogs ARE a selfish endeavor. I’m going to start very general (talking about me) and work up to the specific. Upfront, this is totally shaped by the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent events in Minneapolis, MN. If you feel like you’ve been bombarded, look away now, but I’m not apologizing.
Lack of growth and progress scares me. It is the antithesis of going into teaching. I’m here to help! Let’s get to work.
Why am I so keyed up about this? It’s kind of simple.
I don’t want my students to turn out like me.
I didn’t want to take away from the bulk of the post – but I did want to share and clarify my remarks, for those who are interested.
This is specifically following up “10 Things I Think I Think”. You don’t need to have read that piece to understand this one, but it will put this one in the appropriate context. Now that I’ve said that, let me revisit my own past once more.
I spent a lot of my days worried about my students. I called, sent messages. The worst was not knowing and not getting a response. I hated playing the “I’m really worried about you” card, because sometimes I feel like the students wanted to be left alone, but it had to be done at times. And I was amazed at what some of my students opened up about.
I’ve tried, folks. I’ve really tried.
That’s the refrain I keep telling myself over the last 10 or so weeks.
“The high school, the junior high, the elementary school, we went down six times a year. And not just me, the whole school went down to watch the National Symphony. And that’s where I learned that I had no interest in classical music. But it was an effort! It was arts in the school. And now you have to fight to get arts in the schools. Because nobody wants to pay for it. Nobody wants to pay for anything anymore. That’s the way I look at it. Nobody wants to pay to get the things that would allow to have a great education for children. And I had that education. And they were middle class. It wasn’t some wealthy neighborhood.”
–Lewis Black, April 14, 2014 at the National Press Club