I have returned from the big H, which followed the big W, also known as the big M. H was resting time to recover from W/M. Now I’m back at work (little w, also the big E). More later, but for now poring over a few hundred emails. woohoo.
The albatross sent me a depressing link about a first-time teacher’s summer school experience. Ouch, what a panful experience she describes, an intellectual woman of experience wanting to give something to the community (symbiotically, she admits), who is thrust into a classroom of students who just don’t want to learn. They have their reasons, and you can’t hate (most of) them for it, as so many have horrible home lives, but she has to battle so many sides her job is nearly impossible. When she does come across a lesson that grabs the students (the parts of speech: the bitchy bitch bitched bitchily) parents inevitably call in to complain, and she gets another visit to the overworked and defeated dean’s office, whose instructions are to stay on plan, don’t stray, show movies.
The state of education is dismal here throughout the states. Teachers are treated worse and worse. Classrooms grow, requirements from programs like the disastrous No Child Left Behind act squeeze the life out of classrooms and schools, unruly students, whose parents a such unforgivable, selfish loafs who redirect their guilt and anger at their poor decisions and bad luck at schools, these factors along with budget cuts, whiplash administration changes, creationist school boards and parent organizations, drugs, shrinking after-school programs, and the increasing cost of being cool (shoes, clothes, car need money, so there’s less time) contribute to the disastrous state of education.
I’ve mentioned before that I nearly taught, to the extent of obtaining my MAT, including classroom time. While my experience wasn’t as dramatic as hers, I felt everything she speaks of, invisible forces at work. The students didn’t care. You’ve got to be as fun as TV if you want their attention, and gears need to shift all the time. This is much more true for the physical sciences class I taught than the physics class, but you could see it both places, the unruly students, the ones whose home lives are unimaginable. The kids who need us the most are the hardest to reach, because they just aren’t there.
I know that you’re cool, and you have the moral high ground over all those gas-guzzling pricks. I know that you pedal away, and you’re a target to all those steel dragons. I know that pedestrians don’t notice you and step into your way. Sometimes other bicyclists do things to piss you off as well. Know what? Quit being an asshole. I bicycle to work myself, but seeing some of these jerks on their bikes, it’s no wonder that relations with vehicles are somewhat strained. The guy who made a left through the oncoming traffic, fancy-ass bike and yellow spandex glistening and flipped off and yelled at the poor guy in the SUV he almost hit. Or the guy who suggested to me that I was ‘going the wrong way’ when I was a block past the Broadway Bridge which has a lane closed and I cleared well out of the bike lane for his passage. I’m not griping about signal-running, and stop sign running, and making lefts where they aren’t allowed…I believe that this is fine behavior for a bicyclist. But be frickin careful and respectful when you’re doing that. Mistakes happen…you don’t have to be a jerk about this imagined coda you adhere to and call people on it when they interpret it wrong. Let the anger go. We just want to ride too, and we have to coexist with the cars. They’ll be there, and they’ll be bigger, and that twit with the cellphone is totally over their head, but it’s your job to expect them to do the worst, most life-endangering act, prepare for it, and smile and wave when it doesn’t happen. Let’s not wreck the public perspective of bicyclists the same way that smokers tarnished their reputations as actively as they could, so many totally neglecting social considerations up until voters actually started doing things (smoking is my god-given right! I don’t care what you’re eating.).
Update: dangit, forgot to include the last bit. Jerk on bicyicle, if you can’t get over your issues, it’s time to pull out the Razor Scooter and ride with your 12-year-old peer group.