Well, that happened fast (actually it took 156 years but the important thing is it happened). Happy Juneteenth people, and kudos to J’Biden and company for helping to make America’s worst black eye a little better. Not a solution but a nice start especially because the adults played nice and agreed in a bipartisan way and got something done. Next up: Infrastructure then Climate Change and how about homelessness and education and immigration (really Texas, you want to build a new border wall when your electric grid is failing?).
And I’m sorry I haven’t been writing much but I keep writing myself into a corner with no way to get out. I have great half blogs about marginalization and being a badass but then
I got distracted with wine tours and summer but in case you care, read on.
I am not a badass.
I mean, right, if you know me or have read any of these blogs, or have been on my teams or in my classes you know that I am as chill as they come. Like, too chill, like people wish I would get pissed about stuff but really, it just doesn’t matter that much. Unless it does, then watch out.
I don’t like to put people on blast, hoping that they will see the error of their ways and self-correct or trusting that the universe will self-correct as it usually does. However, diss my students and papa bear comes out.
This year, Creekside High School graduated our largest class in my 21 years of teaching there. Now, 26 kids making it through the requirements of high school might not seem like a big deal but this year everything was a big deal. Did I work twice as hard for half the result? Hell yes! Did I spend every day of the year questioning whether I could continue (a question I have never asked before) Yes. Did I want to quit, not because I was tired but because I wasn’t making a difference? Yes. Did I modify my curriculum and expectations? Yes, definitely. Did it change me? Read on.
So, graduation was even more important than ever and when I was standing up on our makeshift stage at the back of the little theatre, talking about individual students I was scanning the audience, as my ADD brain likes to do, and there was a certain board member who shall remain nameless hiding his phone in his pink graduation program texting away throughout the ceremony.
Now, there are a lot of great people in the district, and I actually have a pretty good relationship with this specific board member, but my gripe is bigger, my gripe is systematic. A board member acting like one of my noncaring students who prioritize their phones in class is one thing but there is a more sinister thing at play here. It’s marginalizing a population of students you have committed to helping.
It’s having the picture of the Creekside graduates on A9, a picture which I had to send into the Index Tribune (there was a time when an IT photographer always attended our graduations). It’s being told that we cannot hold graduation on the new field because SVHS needs to set up their graduation two days later. It’s not being able to join sports teams, electives, drama productions or events even though we are on the same campus. It’s being marginalized, and it should stop.
Creekside is a freaking amazing place which is the main reason I have been there for 21 years, but I often refer to it as the Rodney Dangerfield of the district. We take the disillusioned and provide a path for success, that’s it. And we do it really well because my team is full of badasses who wouldn’t work anywhere else. Those 26 students who walked across our stage, the system didn’t work for them, then they came to our system and it worked.
“The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.”
This is the one page I marked in Jen Sincero’s book, “You are a badass. How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life.” a book I read in two days and loved mostly because it inspired me to work on loving myself which is a reoccurring suggestion at the end of most chapters.
I have a secret which I’ll tell you not because I’m fishing for sympathy but because it might help one or two people. Ready, here it is, I don’t love myself and I never have. Not sure why and I don’t spend a lot of time or energy thinking about it but maybe I should. Maybe we all should, the book sure thinks so. And summer is here so maybe that will be my goal (along with wearing brighter colors and launching the kids). But…
And that’s where it ends, with a whimper and not a bang. And that’s OK because we are all limping back into reality and no one should expect to hit only home runs. We will foul a few balls, strike out a couple of times and then, hopefully, get up to speed as we head into whatever is next.