Archive for the 'civil rights' Category

28
May
11

Slam!

I made my students do a Poetry Slam. I forced them to watch one done at the White House by a very talented young man and told them to write a poem. What they turned in was crap and I told them so (in nicer terms than this). So I made them watch a few more videos (all COMPLETELY appropriate for the classroom), gave them a lecture about poetry not being all about rhyme scheme and repetition but about a visceral connection to yourself and your emotions. And I made them do it again.  They did, so I did 🙂

I love teaching.  I LOVE teaching and every day I see teachers who don’t.  I see teachers who have lost sight of the student, who are just coming to a job.  I see teachers who blame 16-year-old kids for not giving a crap about their education without stopping to discuss the clear fact that NO ONE in this country gives a crap about their education, sometimes not even their parents.  I see teachers who are more worried about the terms of a contract than the needs of a student.  I see teachers who use all their sick days and personal days, too.  I see teachers who get pissed off when they know they’re going to be evaluated because it means they actually have to teach something.

And I see teachers who are moving from sub job to sub job because they dared to move mid-career or decided to spend a few years at home with their children.  I see teachers with experience and degrees left on the sidelines while recent college grads get the few contracts available because they’re cheaper.  I see teachers trying to find a way to reach growing classes due to a shrinking staff and juggle the modifications from 15 IEPs.  I see teachers become mediators, nurses, counselors, mothers, and disciplinarians all in the span of 60 seconds and hear them turn boys into men in less than a sentence.

I see an industry in serious need of reform on every level and a country that can’t see its way to doing anything other than blaming the teachers.  I see an industry that is ruled by politics and not be knowledge, more interested in money than books, and more occupied with answers than with questions.  I seen an industry that no longer serves the public in the way that it should or could and must be changed NOW.

And most importantly, I see the student, the child waiting to be lead in the right direction.  I see the student whose search for knowledge survives even the worse teachers in the worst schools in the country.  I see the student who finds his own books when his school has none and the student who gets up before 5 AM and rides the bus for over an hour to get to the charter school across town and NEVER misses a day.  I see potential.  I see the future and I DEMAND to be a part of it.  Give me a job!

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20
Apr
11

Tea “Party”

I think it’s a little unfair that the Tea Party gets to categorize themselves as a third party when all of their candidates are running as members of the Republican Party.  If they want to call themselves a party, the need to see if they can stand on their own and win on their own.  I don’t think they can, and I think they know it.  I wonder why the media has not called attantion to their differences from the GOP while mentioning that they are still running AS the GOP.

07
Apr
11

Discuss…

How do we convince people who do not derive power from it or lose out as a result of it that the White Male Privilege does exist and that it would be almost universally beneficial to eliminate it?

02
Feb
11

Change the Label, Change the Law

I have decided that I will no longer refer to the man I married as my husband.  From now on, he will be referred to as my life partner.  I have made this decision in support of my gay and lesbian friends who cannot legally call their partners their husbands or wives, yet those people deserve no lesser title.

We are so hung up on titles and labels and the definitions of one thing or another.  We want to be able to categorize each other into neat little boxes.  We forget that people are complicated.  Life is complicated.  Let’s just decide to make this one thing less complicated.  What is a husband or a wife but a partner in all things?  If we have made a committment to someone and invited them in to every part of our lives, does their gender truly matter? 

Maybe if we change the label we can change the law.  If we allow the words “life partner” to mean the same thing as “husband” or “wife”, we take the power away from the words, lessening their meaning, and enabling people to feel less defensive toward them.

14
Dec
10

Effin’ SCOTUS

10 years ago this week, SCOTUS made one of the worst rulings in recent US History with Bush v. Gore. Things have only gotten worse from that day, and it is continually proven to us by our political and judicial leaders just how unimportant we actually are.  I think that’s all that really needs to be said today.

30
Jun
09

Health Care Reform

I’ve had arguments with friends on both sides of this issue, and I hear the same things over and over.  One thing few people are talking about is this: is it our moral responsibility to make sure all citizens have access to health care, regardless of their ability to pay?  I think we can get into any real debate abotu the pros and cons, we need to convince the American people of this one simple thing.

With the Christian Right, we just need to remind them of their own words over and over again.  What WOULD Jesus do?  Did he ask for payment when he raised Lazarus from the dead?  When he laid hands on the blind, did he ask them to go and find him a coin immediately thereafter?  Or did he heal those who needed healing, without question, without demand?  Jesus would be on the side of universal health care, and I think he would be appalled that we don’t have it already.

With others, I’ve heard two major arguments.  1.  People have to wait in Canada and England for months, sometimes for years, for surgeries they need.  2. The Federal Government is inefficient and we don’t want them running anything.  My answers are as follows: 1. People DIE in the United States, the WEALTHIEST country in the world, because they cannot afford health care or their insurance companies turn down life-saving procedures.  and 2. I’m pretty sure that in the Declaration of Independence our Founding Fathers mentioned something about what should be done about  ineffective governments.  If we are to hold to the sacred documents which make out country what it is today, doesn’t it stand to reason that we should be forcing a change within our government if we truly believe that it’s not working for us anymore?

28
Feb
09

Coercion

I teach English.  More importantly, I teach English in the City of Philadelphia to students of varied races in a very low socioeconomic area.  As a result, I do my best to to incorporate literature written by people of all races and religions in every course I teach.  I follow the school district curriculum as much as possible so that my students will pass the standardized tests.

So I was really insulted when a few of our students wore all black and protested in front of our building because we weren’t doing anything for Black History Month.  I should mention that we didn’t do anything for Hispanic History Month (October), and we weren’t planning on doing anything for Women’s History Month (April).  Our school makes a special effort to include all cultures in all of our lessons and relate what we’re doing to our student base. We strive to be better then those schools who, because they ignore the black students most of the time, NEED Black History Month to remind them that we are a multiracial society (though I take issue with the fact that African Americans aren’t the only minority and yet their political groups insist on pushing their histpry over all others).  But since these students decided that we don’t try hard enough the rest of the year (and we REALLY, REALLY do), I have to take days away from the middle of a lesson on the Canterbury Tales (in which I included the Middle Eastern and African influences that entered Europe after the Crusades) to show some movie that has no relevance to what I’m doing in class.

**In an unrelated note, I am currently in the middle of a divorce (which I’m writing about here: http://thisismyamerica.wordpress.com/) and 17 weeks pregnant, which is why I have been slacking off on my writting. I’m trying to get back into the swing of things.  Thanks for your patience.




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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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