Thursday, November 28, 2013

I'm Thankful

Last night I was watching television, and I saw ads for stores opening at 7 AM this morning. No Black Friday for them. To squeeze more pennies from crazed consumers, they can't wait. So low-paid workers will be rushing to sell computers and TVs they themselves probably can't afford to thrifty Americans who need them more than a quiet day with their families.

I have my differences with my union, but I'm grateful to be part of it. It will be a while before my brothers and sisters and I will have to teach on Thanksgiving. And there are some indicators that the crazy people who'd have us do so are suffering from waning influence. There is the landslide election of Bill de Blasio in Fun City. More significantly, the traveling road show of King and Silent Tisch is being met with the derision and contempt it so richly merits. The overreaching insanity of Common Core is not being received warmly anyplace else I know of, and Arne Duncan is shaking his wooden head in wonder.

I'm also grateful to have the best job in the world. There are few things more exciting to me than constantly interacting with eager and interesting young people from all over the world. After almost 30 years my students continue to fascinate me. Of course they make me crazy on a regular basis, but that's kind of their job, and one thing I always pride myself on is being crazier than they are. I've no doubt many of them will back me up on that.

I'm thankful for the thoughtful and inspiring people with whom I work, and honored they choose me to represent them. Being chapter leader of a large school is an insane undertaking in which you're constantly juggling things, Cat in the Hat style, and trying desperately not to fall. I was urged to run for this position by people for whom I have great respect, and didn't really want to do it at first. But this job is also very gratifying, and I suppose it's suited to a person who likes a job as unpredictable as teaching.

The first day I taught I was greeted with a chorus of, "Quit while you can. Go to Long Island to teach." I was amazed at the bitterness and burnout apparent in these teachers, and I determined to get out if I ever felt that way. Mind you, this was 1984, before the rampant national trend of blaming teachers for poverty, learning disabilities, kids not knowing English, global warming, and what have you.

I'm thankful that, though I complain quite a bit, I never complain about my actual job. I'm very thankful and blessed to have a job that I love. I hope my kid and my students can be as lucky as I've been. I know we have a lot of work to do to give them a world like that.

I'm thankful to all of you who read this little blog. It's made me reflect on teaching quite a bit and has surely helped to keep me focused and interested. I'm thankful for my fellow bloggers, listed to the right, who help me in that direction. I'm thankful for the relatively recent emergence of prominent blogging activists who publicly advocate causes promoting sanity in this field we've chosen.

I wish you all a peaceful and joyous holiday. I will work toward a world in which our children have more for which to be thankful and I hope you will all join me.
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