Thank You

So, I am slowly crawling out from my hole.

Over the past month, many of you have sent me emails and other messages of support regarding the loss of my mother. They helped sustain me through a very difficult time and I thank you.

The loss of my mother hits me so hard because she was my only family. Losing her was like losing my mother, father, siblings and extended family all at once. I am still dealing with the fallout of her loss and will be doing so for the foreseeable future.

I am sure there have been many developments in the realm of education deform in the time that I have been out of action. My intention is to rebuild this blog one post at a time.

Reading through my old posts here, I see that I am my mother’s son. She was uncompromising and compassionate in her morality. Right was right and wrong was wrong. If people are starving and suffering in our society that has so much, then that was a tragedy. All of the jargon, economics and analyses that justify this suffering was artifice.

As she got sicker, it seemed that she got less religious. She never showed much of a desire to go to church, yet she did pray every morning, as I learned by going through her things. Instead of going to church, she was increasingly taken with the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus walked with the outcasts and the poor showing unflinching compassion and love for them. That was her religion. It was the religion of love. It was the religion of not allowing barriers and fear to alienate you from your sense of morality.

And going through my old posts here, that is the theme that screams out at me. My mother’s fingerprint is all over this website. We live in an age so overlaid with technology, jargon and theory, each of these things a ruse that serve to separate us from our basic sense of humanity. Each of these things a way to make injustice and suffering a normal state of affairs, something distant and easy to live with.

Since the end of the school year last week, I have been vegetating and marinating in the house I shared with my mother. The television has been on but only as a way to keep me from thinking too much. I have not done much of anything despite the fact that so much needs to be done. A PBS show came on that highlighted “innovative” teaching practices. They showcased a Kindergarten teacher who supposedly was making “progress” with his students (unlike those legions of lazy do-nothings that define the rest of the school system, I suppose). With the most cavalier and callous inflection, the teacher said something along the lines of “kids come with one of four learning styles” and began to rattle the familiar jargon associated with “multiple intelligences”. I am pretty sure he used the word “tactile” in there somewhere.

And the familiar bile rose in the back of my throat. How was this teacher, one who was being celebrated by PBS, so easily able to stuff children into these boxes, these categories, that left absolutely no room for deviation? It was so cold and uncompromising. A child is one of these four things and nothing else. He approached his students with forceps. The art of teaching reduced to clinical speech and nomenclature.

Yes, I am my mother’s son, totally unimpressed and unmoved by the so-called innovations in pedagogy because I know they are meant to dehumanize and de-compassion the teaching profession.

So, I am coming back to The Assailed Teacher to carry on the fight against deform in education and all other areas of society. My mother always read my blog and, despite the fact that she was not too familiar with all of the particulars in the world of education, related to the passion for love and humanity that she saw in it. She was proud of me and I wish to continue my life in a way that makes her proud.

This will be a time of rebuilding, but I hope you stick by me despite my long absence. To those of you who supported me and sent me messages of condolence over the past month, thank you. I hope this is hello again, for good.

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9 responses to “Thank You

  1. I’m sorry for your loss, but boy am I glad you’re back!

  2. …you are a true and uncompromising legacy to her. i know she was very proud and i know she will always be a part of you. what a strong and beautiful spirit. love is the thing. xxoo.

  3. It’s good to hear from you again, AT.

    I like to live by the rule that we are human “be-ings”, not human “do-ings”, and we need to take the time we need to mourn, feel sad, process feelings, accept life on life’s terms, etc. In fact, I think that’s a major difference between ed deformers like Eva and David Levin of KIPP and many of us in the “real reform” movement. They believe that distraction through work (in Levin’s case, 90 hours a week) is the way to live a life. We do not. We are intellectual and physical beings, yes, but we are also emotional and spiritual beings too. They believe the only thing that matters in life is the result – the test score, the sale, the dollar amounts. We do not. Process is as important as the result. How you get to the end result is as important as if you get to it.

  4. Michael Fiorillo

    Welcome back to the arena where you are needed and provide much, and may you soon be able to reflect upon your mother’s love and goodness without undue pain.

  5. I hope that you will continue to find the strength to get through this. in your absence I’ve been re- reading all of your previous blogs & I must say this is an eye opener for those who do not see the hidden tatics in education. I cannot wait to see the future of this blog.

  6. great the read you back; I’m still with you – but go gently. Relentlessly, but gently …

  7. Told you your presence was missed-and knew its purpose. Your thank you-I received… Even thought I didn’t know mom… Made me feel that deep down inside we are the same. Your followers are behind you and will continue to be! You will catch up real fast! Have not missed much in this sorry state of affairs-we
    Call education! Enjoy.. What is left of this patriotic day…

  8. good to have you back.

  9. Thank you everyone for your kind words. It is great to be back.

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