Thursday, February 10, 2011

Optimistic Voices

"Hold onto your breath/ hold onto your heart/ hold onto your hope./March up to the gate and bid it open." -The Wizard of Oz, Optimistic Voices

Teaching is exhausting. Often, I forget the reason I am there, thinking, in that moment, my ultimate concern is only to stay awake.

The truth is: I hated school. Well, I mostly hate school. I did like college. And then there was the amazing alternative boarding school that I went to instead of a foster homw. The foster home was my suggestion to my parent. That is another story for another day. College, and alt. school aside, I loathed the idiodic, competitive public school I went to in the douchey college town where I had the decided misfortune of growing up. I worry that I have made a grave mistake in choosing the career of teaching. But then I think again.

I am a pessimist by nature. I am often annoyed by the stupidity of many optimists. I hated the stupid pseudo optimism of AA, the dbag organization I was trapped in for years. I am an embracer of cycnicism and skepticism nd feel thay are importnat for human survival and for our ability to know ourselves.

I wonder if the truth, no matter how shitty it seems, can actually all be a form of optimism. The truth, and the pusuit of this truth, assumes something that a glossy simonizing of reality never can. I think the truth assumes that will be OK no matter what, that we are strong and have power. Looking for the truth demonstrates that we have courage to deal with anything.

I love kids. I love to read. I am a wannabe writer who is cool enough to admit it. For me, literature is prayer. The connections I can make: text to self, text to text, and then text to the world is a way of being alive, living the truth, that was never possible when I was living in addiction. Or, when I was living in a cult existence that was life in AA. I do not fit into the public school groove. I hate controlling these amazingly brilliant, funny, wonderous kids. In this festering irritation, I need to note there is something more important than the problem. The most important truth is this: I love the kids. I love their a-ha moments. I love their connections even more than I love my own.

I love, most particulalry, kids who struggle. I love working with students who face learning challenges and/or disabilities. I have faced many people in and out of the educational system who have little tolerance and who lack even mild empathy for these students. I LOATHE these ignorant pieces of shit. Their stupidity is what makes this world the dark place it is. Really, darkness at least has some romance to it, right? So, these people make the world dull. These people are robbers or both the dark, jagged edges and the brilliant, sparkling possibilities of what these kids are now and what they can be in the future.

Here is a writing I found when I was living with two *stoopids* who believed smugly that special education is WASTE OF MONEY. I almost killed them, really. This sort of ideology makes me feel crazy, like it makes me want to throw a brick at your head type crazy.

It is important for me to remian optimistic when dealing with people of this ilk. Not stupid optimistic, where the truth remains lost. But brave optimistic. The sort of optimistic badass mindset where you throw out the gratitude list which was pushed out for your illiterate AA sponsor, and then you get the FUCK outta the roomz. I found these awesome words by Jack Pearpont and love them. These words, and others like them, are my optimistic voices:

"We are not all equal in capacity or value.
It is not feasible to give equal opportunity.
We must choose and thus train an elite who will take care of the rest.
They will benefit through the trickle-down theory.
Inclusion is the opposite and works from opposite assumptions:
We are unique in value; however, each has unique capacity."
Inclusion which reads to me like an astounding poem:
"All people can learn.
All people have contributions to make.
We have a responsibility and an opportunity to give every person the chance to make a contribution.
The criterion for inclusion is breathing, not IQ, income, colour, race, sex or language.
It's too expensive.
They can't learn.
They don't know what's best for them.
(Megan is saying FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCK YOU oh so loudly)
It can't be done.
As a critic of exclusion, I say:
It's too expensive.
But they can learn.
They - people - know a tremendous amount if asked.
It can be done.”

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