Sunday, September 03, 2006

Loving the energy at the start of the semester

I’m an energy junkie: I like building, using it, consolidating it, maximizing it, getting messy with it. If the work of an artist is to make something new out of existing possibilities, then the work of the teacher is to make something new out of existing personalities.

When I walk into a classroom of 100+ kids—who, perhaps for the first time, are not being hovered-over by parents concerned about getting them into college (too late for that now, mom ‘n’ dad) or teachers concerned about guaranteeing (usually in marginally-ethical ways) that the little darlins’ excel on the standardized tests so that the school doesn’t lose its “No [white, middle- to upper-class, offspring of parents who might be persuaded to fall for the bullshit fulminations of “compassionate conservatives” one more time] Child Left Behind” funding—which would mean that the public school teachers would have to do still more impossible work on still less funding—that’s my métier. I wanna get in there and start working with that energy.

I don’t care whether it’s positive or negative, present or absent, latent nascent or intrinsic—I’ll find it, and I’ll build it, and I’ll send the little darlins out into the world as stronger, smarter, tougher, braver, more independent people.

That’s my job.

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