Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Daphnia dance while the children cry

The anger, the sadness, the tears of students are real.
It's been a long February, but it's more than that.

I spent some time yesterday gazing at a colony of daphnia dancing among the elodea in the last hour of sunlight angling through the glass world they live in. Bubbles of oxygen streamed up from the plants, bubbles made up of broken water molecules, slashed by the sun's energy, now used by the same daphnia as they go about doing whatever daphnia do.

Paul Hebert at the Public Library of Science, via wikimedia (CC)

Eat, rest, move, have sex, make more daphnia, and sometimes (so it seems) doing nothing at all.

I don't do much for the daphnia--just add a little bit of water to the container now and again. I do not know where they came from, and if I were not a modern sort, they'd be enough evidence to persuade me that spontaneous generation is real.

Been an interesting couple of months, reminders of my mortality marked by a heart that beats to its own drummer, and I am no longer so blasé about the tears of the young ones in front of me. I am part of a system that is breaking the kids.

I put no pressure on my daphnia, who dance the day away. They already know how to live.

I put too much pressure on my lambs, who no longer see the daphnia, and would find it strange to see an older man spend so much time staring at a watery world on  a windowsill.

Too few of us know what matters, yet we insist on dictating to young humans just that.


Rayanne Pirozzi said...

I fight every day not to be part of the system that breaks kids. It is difficult but important work. As teachers and protectors our educational system puts us in a difficult position. Your words remind me that we are not alone in our struggles. Thank you.

doyle said...

Dear Rayanne,

Thank you for words--I hope we both can stay in the classroom for many more years, but if things keep going the direction they're going, not sure how long I can remain useful.