“In Confessions of a Winning Poker Player, Jack King said, ‘Few players ever recall big pots they ever won, strange as it seems. But every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.’ Seems true to me.” –Mike McDermott in Rounders
Sometimes I title my blogs by something LOGICAL. Lately, as I’ve been working, I’ve been in a musical rut. I’ve tried to dust off some old tunes in an attempt to brighten up a bit. My sister (Alyx) was a big R.E.M. fan in high school and college, and she turned me on to them. I’ve become a fan of a lot of bands later, less popular works. I haven’t listened to much R.E.M. in years, and I’ve forgotten how GOOD “All the Way to Reno (You’re Gonna Be a Star)” was. In the liner note to In Time, I swear Michael Stipe wrote, “If you think you’re going to Reno to be a star, you’re either delusional or grossly misinformed”, but I could be making it up as I’ve long since lost my copy of the liner notes.
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.
“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
“The average age in our platoon, I’d guess, was nineteen or twenty, and as a consequence things often took on a curiously playful atmosphere, like a sporting event at some exotic reform school. The competition could be lethal, yet there was a childlike exuberance to it all, lots of pranks and horseplay. Like when Azar blew away Ted Lavender’s puppy. ‘What’s everyone so upset about?’ Azar said. ‘I mean, Christ, I’m just a boy.’” –The Things They Carried, Tim O’Brien
This is two years too late. I’m careful about what I reveal to my students, just like I was careful what I revealed to my patients. If it’s pertinent, I think it’s fair game, even if it just makes the point of “hey, I’ve dealt with something like this, too.”