First I want to apologize for being a bit flighty this week. You see, one of my very best friends just had her first baby (a girl…and yes, I already bought her and Mini Mimi matching outfits) and I am currently visiting her, trying to help any way that my non-child-having self can. Translation: I stand there and say, “Can I help? What can I do? You’re doing awesome!” and then I bake something because THAT I can do. (I mean, show me a pregnant woman who doesn’t know her way around dessert!)
And no, before you start thinking, “Is Mrs. Mimi going to start mommy-blogging on us?” I’m not. (Crisis averted.) However, it IS on my mind and as is the way of my people, I can relate any experience whatsoever (just try me!) to teaching. Trip to the grocery store or beautiful illustration of how to model good behavior for children? A simple conversation with your husband about his day at work or an opportunity to draw important conclusions about the crucial nature of workplace culture for teachers? Am I really ever listening to anyone who is a non-teacher or am I just smiling, nodding and thinking about how your story can be used to think more deeply about the work of teachers?
So of course, when my BFF was all, “let’s watch this documentary on birth together,” I was all, “sure” and “how can I relate this to teaching?” I mean, relating a presentation about birth in America to life in the classroom kind of felt like the ultimate challenge.
I know, it’s a sickness.
As I alternated between being personally enlightened about the experience I am about ten weeks away from having and equally horrified by the same experience in the very next moment, there was this moment where I had to shout, “Pause this thing and let me grab a pen!”
And then she shouted, “Do you have a pen and a Post It?”
And I shouted, “Dude, how long have you known me?”
Thinking that I had found a tidbit to help me handle the impending birth, my friend was thrilled. Until she asked me what I wrote down and I told her, “this will be perfect for my blog!”
You see, while this person was talking about the birth experience, his words rang true for the corner we have painted ourselves into in the American Public School system. Lately everything has seemed so desperate and tinkery and reactionary and just plain AWFUL! Schools that aren’t faring well (according to the All Might Test, which is a problem in and of itself) are being punished rather than supported. Teachers are subjected to punitive measures and a negative culture and made to feel FEARFUL of people who should be there to support and nurture their talents. Instead of focusing on all the negatives, the teachers who suck and the All Mighty Test…we NEED to start considering what OUGHT TO BE, what would be the most helpful and what we can do that won’t create fear, intimidation and an adherence to a freaking set of numbers that are useful but not the whole story by any means.
As this genius man with a fabulous accent said in the DVD (although he had no idea he was actually shedding brilliance on our current state of affairs in schools), “We are completely lost. Like a traveler who suddenly realizes he took the wrong way, the best thing he can do is to go back to square one, the point of departure and choose another direction.”
I think this week, we should put our heads together and think about what direction this is.