I love sports. Always have, always will.
And if you love sports the way I do you really get into all aspects of the game. This even extends to coaches and how they speak with the media.
I have a feeling I should start to take a hint. (More on that in a sec.)
In today’s world, it’s a simple truism of life. If you can’t “manage” the media (no one really “controls” it, but most coaches and players — the more high profile, the more important this is — do work hard to “manage” the media) you are cooked.
I guess this is why coaches so often devolve into politically correct blandness. When hit with adversity like a bad call by the officials, you know they swear like sailors behind the scenes but in front of the cameras, they all know that you will not last long if you don’t work to say the right things about the refs, your opposition, the higher-ups that own the teams, run the athletic departments at the universities and so on.
It’s like that scene from the movie Bull Durham where Kevin Costner teaches Tim Robbins how to speak in cliches. Funny, but true.
As a blogger, I seek the opposite. I am trying to be honest, unvarnished and forthright. But now that the stakes are so clearly set for me and my school about “raise your test scores or suffer the consequences” I feel as if I am at risk of being too blunt.
I want to provide a window. A look in. A means for folks to see what it’s like from a real classroom perspective in a manner that actually has some flavor, some spice, some opinion and works not to pull punches so that the reality of these circumstances can be exposed — and maybe we can all learn how to be better at what we do as a result. (I really view myself as a learner, first and foremost, and writing empowers me to be incredibly reflective about my profession.)
Yet, there’s a part of me that fears the approach I take to blogging could cause me trouble. For example, if I say that teaching undocumented kids in a Title 1 school who have parents that don’t speak English sets our teachers up to have lower test scores than people who teach in schools where the predominance of kids have college-educated parents who don’t live a community plagued by things like violence, transience, little formal education, and so on, I open myself up to criticism of…
— being racist
— having low expectations for my kids
— not believing in the power of young people
— being classist
— doubting the ability to turnaround our district
and on and on and on.
Never mind that I have taught at Lynwood High and worked with such kids for years and years and loved the job, the parents I’ve met, and the work immensely. But now that the NCLB screws are turning on our staff and all our jobs are apparently at risk — while teachers who work in schools with virtually no issues of like ilk to ours are not having their jobs held over their head if they don’t immediately raise their bubble test scores — am I being too blunt?
The playing field has not been equal for kids who live in America’s lower socio-economic communities since public education began.
And now a part of me feels as if the teachers of those kids are being demonized for it. Is the playing field of teacher accountability truly equal?