“In government schools, there is nothing asked of children that is real. There is nothing important to do there.” –John Gatto, New York State Teacher of the Year
I had spent a week visiting James in Wisconsin and watched his show twice. The rest of the time we just goofed off, read a lot and ate a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner prepared mostly by the ladies in the cast. It snowed the first night I was there, so we had a real “winter wonderland” feel to the little town of Wisconsin Dells. We even spent one afternoon crunching through the snow visiting the little village shops.
There was lots of drama as one of the members of his small cast decided to become offended at the way management was treating him and he walk away from the show just 15 minutes before curtain. This left the rest of the cast members to figure out how to carry on the show without his dancing, singing and acting. But, professionals as they were, they pulled if off with real class! Of course, James was his typical awesome self.
Unfortunately, the last day I was with James he began to get sick, which means I came back to Knoxville with a sinus infection which became a major sinus infection plus bronchitis. It’s only this evening that I think I might be on the mend.
But, trying to teach school without a voice is interesting. Fortunately, I have established enough rapport with the students in the Middle School that they like me enough to behave (more or less).
I have decided that I am not going to be the typical teacher who yells or threatens. As I watch these kids act out in class, I actually empathize with them. Those acting out seem to be the most “alive” of all the students and I find myself enjoying them more. One student asked me why I homeschooled my sons. I said, “Because I hated school and I decided I wasn’t going to make my own children suffer.” They were amazed that a teacher would say such a thing.
I was in the teacher’s lounge Friday and overheard two teachers talking wondering why no one ever seems to be able to figure out how to make school “work” for its students. I thought, “When will responsible adults be willing to admit that institutionalizing young people isn’t the way to raise them?”
Tomorrow I return to Middle School and a new set of “dramas” entitled, “Why do we do this to children, anyway?” It’s all The Emperor’s New Clothes and it makes me sad for the kids.
I have contacted Cairo about teaching there next school year and have begun advertising my two trips to Israel in 2009. Other than that, not any new news to tell