Lemon-Scented Bivouac  

Fatherly and, eventually, teacherly blather. Also: graphic design, baseball, synthetic fabrics, jug band music and, lord help us, the occasional politics.

Thursday, March 25, 2004  

Odd times.

Have begun student teaching without putting much pressure on myself (and, thank my cooperating teacher, without much pressure from her). The first four days have been fun. I try something, listen to the students' responses to it, think about it, come up with an idea during breakfast or in the shower, then try out that idea that day. I was going to say it reminds me of what Bernardo Bertolucci (I think) said: That his ideal state would be to dream something, then get up and film it the next day. Only I would like it to be the students' dream and not my own.

But I'm also reading John Taylor Gatto, who not only speaks the truth but also speaks the kind that I feel in my guts that I should have known all along (or did without realizing it). This is terrible and wonderful stuff for a beginning teacher. Listen:

No one believes anymore that scientists are trained in science classes or politicians in civics classes or poets in English classes. The truth is that schools don't really teach anything except how to obey orders...Teachers do care and do work very hard, but the institution they work for is psychopathic; it has no conscience."

Which sums up my waning experiences in teaching school. It's a painful, constricted, non-experiential training in how to be a junior bureaucrat; and most of my classmates (this is awful to say, I suppose) are impressively compliant with the whole project. They're scared now, completely incapable of asserting their own ideas; they'll make perfect lower-level functionaries later on. They'll tell kids what to do; they'll try to force one tiny, pointless, overdetermined context-free activity after another on their kids, who will undoubtedly grow up to feel tiny, pointless, overdetermined and context-free.

And so it goes.

In other news, we now live on Vashon and watch great blue heron. I saw the moon and Jupiter in one gulp of the binoculars last night; they were a thumb's width apart. Elliott is one year old and has such a roster of new skills they'd be outdated by the time I finished typing this. He's ... oh, I won't try. He's a little blast of a boy.

And here's a photo (thanks to friend Susan for taking this):

  posted by Andy @ 4:09 PM §

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