rus uncut, no. 3

it is now 2104.

No music plays, but the sounds of the fans swirl on all around me. They create a hum of noise that, for some reason, makes this heat just a little more bearable (as if it were ever bearable to begin with).

The seven-day forecast looks like some kind of sick cut-and-paste of today; it’s the same story over and over and over: Hot, Humid, 30-percent chance of severe thunderstorms, poor air quality, poor everything.

Depressing.

I find that I am spending more time in my car for the suspended relief, if but for a few extra minutes as I drift a little more slowly out of one red light, hoping that I might catch the next red and prolong my trip another blissfully spent 2 minutes.

Green to red, green to red. Exactly where i am.

I had an amazing day teaching grad school, though. My students/colleagues are seriously on the bus in this last week. They’re getting it. They’re seeing the bigger picture, and it’s exciting as anything to see them all jacked up for what possibilities may come in the classrooms in late August.

The reality, though, is that they’re going to be facing the toughest opposition of their lives amidst the myriad assessments and evaluations that have little to do with the individual child and everything to do with who gets to keep his or her job for another year. You see, after they’ve spent a month immersed in the theoretical and practical applications of the teaching of writing in the classroom, they are no longer ignorant to the evils of the assessment machine. In late August, when they return to their day-long meetings and updates (hope you had a fannnnnnn-tastic summer!), they’ll see the true, genuine ugliness of the education machine, and they’ll do one of three things:

1. They’ll give up and give in, certain that they are not strong enough to fight it;

2. They’ll allow the intensity of this summer to go quietly away, convinced that it’s all hogwash and nothing can beat the system (hey, it IS the system after all, right? And don’t you think they’d know what they’re doing by now for our kids, after all these years?).

3. They’ll fight the machine, fill themselves with all they’ve learned, put on their writing armor, and face it head on.

I’d like to think that the majory of my students will pull a number 3 out of the hat, but it’s going to take every bit of strength to overcome the sirens of conformity and do what our kids in the classroom really need. We’ll do our best to pass along some reminders from all of us at the University to keep them (and us!!!) on course, but they know that they’re the ones who have to hold on to the vision of what that fire to teach and to write is all about.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the machine, isn’t it? That’s why I’m writing now and not stopping. I’ve got to get back on the bus. I’ve got to sit back and let the wind blow through my hair without a worry in the world.

That’s it. I’m outta here. Time to take a little road trip to get a cup of coffee, windows down, the Dead blaring, dumping my thoughts to the wind like Dumbledore’s pensieve…

back real soon, now.

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