Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Know your place

Arne Duncan, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and all kinds of other crazy rich folk want to colonize your town. And they are succeeding, because we let them succeed.

If you teach, know your place, the earth under your feet. Stay grounded.

If you teach history, know who walked the street that runs past our school. Learn the names of the townsfolk killed in action--their names are on our street signs--their kin walk in our halls. Talk to the locals wiling away their final days in the old folks home just two blocks away across the Green. Was the tunnel found at Bloomfield Steak and Seafood  used to free slaves?

A century old when the Declaration of Independence was written

If you teach language, bother to say "good morning" in the varied tongues found in our town. Bengali, Gujarati, Spanish, Tagalog, Creole. And "thank you." Portuguese, Patois, Mandarin, Greek. Learn the names of moves on a skateboard, on a bike, on a dance floor.

If you teach science, share which plants are edible on the school grounds. Mention the Manhattan Project research that now sits as a dead zone where Westinghouse used to be. Bring some tiny critters in for the weekend--roly polies and millipedes need little care. Know what creeks wend through town.

Jean Giamis is looking for help--did you work here? Know someone who did?

If you teach any of the arts--ne'er mind, they already got this covered.

Every true teacher in our building is a history teacher, a language arts teacher, a science teacher, an arts teacher. We all have a lot to learn and a lot to share.

Ironically, those we fear the most are those the least grounded. Ambitious folk who move around to garner power cannot be trusted with what they cannot know.

I work hard to know my place--I wish Arne and his ilk would start to learn theirs.

Our Acting Commissioner of Ed Chris Cerf cannot even figure out what county he lives in...sigh


John T. Spencer said...

Let go of Icarus. It's way better here on the ground. Thanks for the reminder, Doyle.

Brian E. Bennett said...

Thanks Doyle. I've been travelling for the better part of a month and I'm ready to be back in a more familiar place. I need to spend, y summer making it even more familiar.

John T. Spencer said...

I have a map of Phoenix from 1953. I show the students how we can red-line the segregation. I show them newspaper articles from a black newspaper advocating for keeping George Washington Carver High School (because they feared Phoenix Union wouldn't hire any of the African-American teachers). It's mindblowing to them. It's exciting to them. Kids want to know about the ground that they walked on.