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Philosophical Meanderings, School Stories

I’m almost too tired to voice my dissent.

Originally posted at

I’ve been quieter this year, more subdued. I’ve felt guilty. Today, I failed to attend a meeting that could have served as an opportunity to work for the better, or fight the worse. I can barely find time to write. My posts are fewer, and my involvement in social media is less. Why?

It’s really quite brilliant from the vantage of the higher ups. I was a part of a rather lively staff. A staff with teeth who didn’t take shit from your common bureaucrat. The staff was not without its problems, but poking holes in arguments and scoffing at bureaucrats was not something from which we shied away. It seems the problem is being solved though. The State has been in our school this year, and they’re meeting us to death. We have several meetings a week. Meetings about meetings. Meetings about standards. Meetings about lesson plans. Meetings about what we write on our boards. Occasionally, meetings about students. But, who could tell. Paperwork has increased, and auditors are more common. They’re ever present. Always carrying their iPads with their checklists. Teaching is becoming a show, for many. Those of us who are teaching are being told that our boards are missing this, and our walls that. “Our kids are learning,” we protest. But they tell us we’re missing things on their checklists. It’s the same thing day in and out.

My fighting is turning to defense of my classroom. My new advocacy is the guarantee that I will teach no matter how much they pile on top of me. I’m still teaching—still standing, but I’m exhausted. I will rebel as long as I am breathing.


3 thoughts on “I’m almost too tired to voice my dissent.

  1. I feel your pain. Although the “state” hasn’t been in my school, it’s meeting after meeting with little substance. The Principal changes his mind on a whim, or gives short notice about meetings and changes. We all feel stressed, exhausted, and beaten down.

    Posted by ruralteacher | October 23, 2012, 6:36 am
  2. As I read your post, I could not help but think of Lois Lowry’s The Giver where the only escape from a ‘perfect’ world of sameness is, well, escape. But not just any escape. Only the one with insight can help the others regain their knowledge, and the strength to sever the bonds of inertia that hold them in the status quo. After all, many, the Giver points out, ‘know’ nothing. Until that changes, nothing changes… So, the next time the speakers crackle to life with ‘the Instructions,’ release your insights (for the good of others) and make a run for it (follow your heart!). It may be the only way the others will come to know what has been taken away from them. And it may be the only way our children will once again receive the Truth, the only way to restore life to learning.

    And I recently read something else that might lend insight (or, at least, stir the imagination and give us pause to reflect on what can be):
    “Traditional Indian will not reform. Will not abandon traditional beliefs. Will not give up native language. Will not be forced to cut hair. Will not be oppressed. Will not celebrate Columbus Day.”

    In other words, the wise will eschew sameness. Let us, with all our strength and courage, stand together to meet the children where they are, accept them for who they are, and let them be the master of their learning. I’m certain Truth will meet us there.

    Posted by Jack King (@DrJackKing) | October 23, 2012, 9:08 am
  3. Teach on. Dispel the anger, ignore the shite, and teach on!

    Posted by Lori | October 23, 2012, 11:57 am

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