“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
-Rob Stilinan, Apple commercial
Day 363 – Like Rolf, I am looking back at my lesson in THAT class yesterday–a lesson on ETHOS, PATHOS, and LOGOS. I capitalize these to differentiate from the previously taught advertising/persuasive technique employed in commercials of logos. In every aspect, in every way, I am awed by the challenge presented to DHH students from words that sound the same used in the context of an English language arts class to the teaching of adverbs, which have no direct ASL equivalent, with even teaching the quality of a verb or action presenting challenge. And, so, similarly to Rolf, when I look at my classroom from a different perspective, “I find that I am refreshed and read, supported not only by my memories but my connection to the present. Not by a sense of how I can protect myself from the pains of life but a sense of how I can participate.” In my experience, this has been the best teacher.
Nonetheless, the classroom is constantly changing. I am being formally evaluated in THAT class, one which has seen me employ my own desperate persuasive techniques to refocus the class on learning. The task is great, and time is short, and challenges confront me. Behaviors infringe on that time, and the hallways are full of hostility, chaos, and drama. Sometimes I don’t hear a kind word being spoken by staff or students within the work day, albeit my early morning, pre-contract hours before school–teachers dedicated to setting the day prior to school in calmness and peace. Frustrations run high and something unsettling is afoot. And, so, again, as Rolf does, I, too, ponder this change in our school, district, state, and perhaps country with a great deal of “wonder and sadness.”
Indeed, in Rolf’s words, “we are permanence encompassed by impermanence.” Love of our teaching profession, of children, of words and content that sets our souls on fire, has kept us in this sea of change. However, teachers and students and schools are being stripped of opportunities to learn and to grow together. Change came, and it is not for the good, but it is here now, heading in directions unknown. THAT classroom feels the unsettling change, and THAT classroom pushes back hard. However, THAT classroom also lacks experience to build connections which strengthen us, individually and collectively. Shackled by testing, course codes, labels, and social history, how will they escape such historic change? Is there a place for old school and new school in the brick-and-mortar classrooms of America? Do we dissolve resistance by removing the students that make up THAT classroom? All I can do is resolve to love THAT classroom more. All I can do is prepare myself up for the challenges that present themselves, set aside nostalgia, and roll up my sleeves. This is good work.