What transpired in the last forty-eight hours is absolutely astounding, and yet, not surprising given the day in January when the government turned upside down. My lips drew into a firm line, and my left eye brow raised when I learned just whom was appointed to the highest position of education in our country.
I would like to extend a round of disappointed applause to those in the Senate whom are absolutely tucked into the back pocket of a human being whom undoubtedly flaunts illiteracy, ignorance, and violent rhetoric about the very generation that will inherit the “thrown” said being sits upon today. I believe firmly in education, intellect, and action, however, I also believe in karmic retribution. I believe that there will be a reckoning, and justice will prevail. The challenge is steep, the hill is vast, and yet I see glimmers of light still ahead.
One must persist.
When I sat and pondered upon the daunting decision I made in order to go into the field of education I came to a realization that it could be summed up into a matter of pure numbers, clear mathematics.
I sat and thought more about my early days in this field of education and I asked myself, “How much time went into that year of graduate school and my first year of teaching?” I decided to calculate rough facts, not calendar date by calendar date numbers, just to see for myself how much time actually went into my fundamental years of educational ground work.
It took me 1 year to decide upon, volunteer, pass exams, enter grad school, and 2nd year to work tirelessly seven days a week, graduate, apply to 200 jobs, interview in person for 10 jobs before I landed my first position in public education. Calculating my year of student teaching plus graduate studies work and my first year of teaching together roughly breaks down to: 24 months, roughly 720+ days, 17,280 hours, 1,036,800 minutes, and 62,208,000 seconds of teaching, planning, reading, grading, prepping, self higher educating course work, singing, collaborating, drawing, calculating, learning, sketching, growing, listening, loving, challenging, caring, counting, helping, band-aiding, smiling, cheering, underlining, circling, typing, standing, responding, hopping, skipping, whistling, herding, clapping, snapping, pointing, chanting, running, holding, IEP-ing, 504-ing, nurturing, embedding, and educating myself and students in the first two years of my education work. Multiply that times 8 years, as of now, and then I have the last decade of my life’s work in a nutshell calculated by time.
It took 1 week, 168 hours, 10,080 minutes and 604,800 seconds in order for a decision to be made that has the potential to derail the education system I have spent 10 years of master training work within.
I had continuous discussions with a mentor of mine about the current state of education as it stands today. I was continually told, “Hold on, hold out, the pendulum will swing back Rachel, I promise it will. I have seen it and I understand what you’re going through.”
I do not see a pendulum any longer.
I think it became stuck, far along the right hand side and cracked somehow. Much like the ticking hands of a clock stopped by someone’s gloved hand, as they pushed down upon the minute hand, our seconds flew by and yet we waited for the swing back or forward and it never came.
What the hell is going on? This is a common thought that goes through my brain when I pause to think about what has happened in three weeks time.
I was a child of the ’90’s. A product of public education. I experienced the push in of my peers who benefitted from I.D.E.A. I attended a public university for my bachelor and masters degrees. I am a public school teacher today. I have taught in Title 1, federally funded school programs for the last ten years. I cannot even count how many children, families, colleagues, and community members I have worked with any longer. It would make my head spin to think about all the beautiful, challenging, amazing, and ultimately human individuals I have crossed paths with.
But I can tell you one thing… not once have I had a public government official in my classroom. Not once.
Until this next month.
I invited the mayor to meet my students and read aloud a Dr. Seuss book on Theodore Gisselle’s birthday.
Chutzpah? I’ve got it. Right here. Right now. Who are we going to befriend? Our own public official. I figured he might want to get to know some of his nine and ten-year old constituents. So why not now? Why not celebrate, and learn from his point of view, and he from ours. I cannot wait to meet the leader of the town I live and work within alongside my 27 amazing students. He will surely be amazed by their intellect, humor, and courageous hearts. I know I am every day!
Children are our future.
As the witch said during the second act of, Into the Woods,
“Children will listen, and learn, and grow…”
Children are the generation who will inherit this great land and nation. Children are the essential component whom the country should focus upon. You know what is not essential? Someone else’s money. As well as someone else’s inability to understand the very fundamental vocabulary of the field upon which they will now be the head of.
Perhaps I could send her a vocabulary list for homework? I think I will include the definitions because she’s going to need them. The first ten words will include a variety of nouns, verbs, and adjectives that one should familiarize themselves with prior to their first meeting with appraised individuals in education, and then the list for the following week will be a laminated definition sheet of ready to know acronyms used daily in the sphere of public education.
First up on her specialized non-IEP approved vocabulary list:
Society, which do you truly value: education or money?