world on fire

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Dec 07 2009

route 66, is it?

as i drove to work this morning, i saw a bumper sticker that made me want to barf and/or get the hell out of texas (which i’m doing, what up tfa):

“if it sounds like marx…and acts like stalin…it’s probably obama”

really? “acts like stalin”? do you actually know anything about joseph stalin? are you actually equating president obama with a dictator who murdered thousands of his own people in the name of “purging” his country of political dissent and ethnic diversity? because — yes, i’m talking to you, cowboy — that’s ridiculous.

[gives a whole new meaning to the term "red state," i guess.]

i think one of the most challenging aspects of my job as a teacher, particularly given all the pressures of NCLB, will be finding a way to convince my students that the most valuable skill they will EVER acquire is that of critical thinking. (this will be especially difficult if i’m teaching, you know, seven year olds. the need to pee in the toilet isn’t a matter of critical thinking so much as hey, please don’t pee on the wall.) anyway, i’ve been reading the freedom writers diary lately, and it’s helping me develop a vision for the kind of teacher i want to be and the kind of classroom i want to conduct. books like that, and blogs like those on this site, prove to me that extraordinary is possible.

part of why i’m writing (and publishing) all this now, six months before i will actually deliver my first real-live lesson to real-live students at institute, is simply to hold myself accountable for my ideals. the need for me to be extraordinary will be the one constant of my experience as a corps member. no matter how exhausted, or disillusioned, or frustrated, or PISSED OFF i get during the course of serving my students, i have to remember my ideals. i honestly don’t think i’ll be anywhere near successful otherwise.

so you know what gives me the chills, sitting here in an office building in bryan, texas? the knowledge that right now, my students are somewhere in the bay area, spending another monday at school. they are laughing with one another, delivering notes to their crushes, striving to pay attention in class, and maybe even eating a lunch that is likely subsidized by the state. but regardless of what they are doing, they are waiting for me — for their new teacher who’s moving all the way from texas to meet them — without even realizing it. i must hold myself accountable to being exactly what they deserve.

76% of texans live here their entire lives. i’m proud, and relieved, to stand among the other 24%. let’s get hyphy, y’all.

One Response

  1. With all the doggone snow we have gotten lately I am stuck inside , fortunately there is the internet, thanks for giving me something to do. :)

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