Yet again, it is my friends, or memories of former friends, who are saving me from drowning in a sea of my own complaining. Lately, this blog has been all politics, all news and b*tching all the time...but hey, it's not my fault that everyone seems to have had a secret meeting and decided to collectively turn against teachers instead of, you know, using their powers for good and actually coming up with some solutions.
I think my soapbox may be showing signs of extreme wear and tear from overuse. I mean, I have stepped up on that thing so many times in the last few weeks, that just writing this blog could be considered step aerobics. (You like how I rationalize that blogging is actually exercise? Now, please pass the cream cheese...) And around the blogosphere (still the nerdiest phrase EVER, but it is what it is) teachers and supporters of educators (oh, and people who are into common sense) are speaking out too. Even people like Bill Maher (thanks for the link C.A.T.!) are even getting in on the action.
Although many of us may be tired of speaking up, or afraid to speak up or think that our speaking up doesn't matter, I beg to differ. And now, I shall share with you an inspirational story from classroom's past.
(Plus, I think that some of us, who are in the classroom and ROCKING OUT are simply too tired to speak out after a long day of teaching and having to fight their way through the main office at the end of the day, which can be like running a gauntlet of negativity and people wanting to chat and waste time when all you want to do is grab a chocolate from the secretary's desk, check your mail and run upstairs to get ready for tomorrow, so OF COURSE you're tired. You guys could use a nice shot of positivity too. And that chocolate.)
Setting: My classroom library, on the rug.
Scene: My friends it in a circle, with stories tucked underneath their bottoms for sharing. My student teacher sits at the front of the class in my fabulous teacher chair. I sit at the back of the circle watching - and crying a little, but we'll get to that part.
Student Teacher: Remember, if you don't want to share, you can just say, "pass" and give me your work on the way back to your seat.
Nods from around the carpet. Is it any wonder I freaking love this class?
Student Teacher: Okay. Bubbles, do you want to share?
Bubbles gets up and reads her story. Everyone listens. Everyone claps. A few kids give specific compliments. My head is exploding....it is one of those days where you think to yourself, "Self, they were actually listening and now look at them. Who knew?"
Student Teacher: Fabulous. (I get everyone to use that word excessively if they spend enough time with me...it's a gift.) Um, Cutey Pie, do you want to share your work?
Now Cutey Pie is almost as shy as Mr. Shy. And that's pretty shy. He almost never shares in front of the whole group like this. It's just a matter of time before he says, "pass."
Cutey Pie: Pass.
Do I know my friends or what?
Curly: C'mon Cutey Pie, we really want to hear about your thinking!
Me: (in my head, of course) Um, WTF? Curly, TOTALLY loving you but don't push him.
Bubbles: Yeah Cutey Pie, we all think you're really smart!
Choruses of "Yeahs" and "You can do its" and head nodding spontaneously pop up around the carpet.
Am I crying?
Cutey Pie looks unsure, but decides to stand and walk to the front of the rug with his work. All of a sudden, a round of encouraging applause breaks out around the class. Cutey Pie takes his place, smiles and shares his work. Everyone listens. Everyone claps. A few kids give specific compliments. Cutey Pie hands my student teacher his work and sits down. Curly shoots him a huge smile and a thumbs up.
Yup, I am definitely crying.
SOOOOOOO my point is that all of us in the teacher community/blogosphere are here to support you if and when you decide to speak up. We will listen. We will clap. We will give specific compliments and perhaps a thumbs up.
I speak from experience.