I came to work today — the day after my grandmother died and I prepared to fly to New York to attend her funeral this weekend — because I wanted to make sure my affairs are in order and things go semi-smoothly for my students.
I am blogging right now because hanging a black curtain over my head and burying myself in a sad closet is the absolute last thing my grandmother would want me to do.
She was a person who understood “life goes on.” Dorothy Sitomer was an optimist. (She was also a pain in the ass but she knew it and had no problem with the idea of it, either. Sometimes God mixes chutzpah, bluntness and intelligence together in combustible combinations and forgets to sprinkle as much diplomacy as some of us down here thinks he ought to have. You’ve heard of bull in a china shop? Dorothy was the type of person who other bulls in the china shop feared.)
This may feel supremely trite to read but at times like this we are forced to recognize that life doesn’t go on forever. And as dorky as this sounds, the only way for me to go on is to pursue things which have genuine meaning to me. I often self-rationalize my almost work-a-holic nature as a by-product of simple zest and zeal. I love to teach. I love to write. I love to learn. I love to interact with people. (I also love to argue which is a weakness of mine because things have been known to fly out of my lips that are often really wrong, really stupid or really asinine. Some of you might have heard them before… LOL!)
At the end of the day though, I am comfortable in realizing that my work feeds my soul and as I look around the world of education, I realize its soul is starving right now for inspiration, leadership and positive action. That’s what this is all about. It’s why blogging at this moment makes sense to me and continuing to ferociously pursue the aims of getting rid of the buffoonish elements of our current schools (like scripted curriculum and boring textbooks) in order to bring about common sense, authentic solutions to our classrooms (like putting REAL BOOKS in the hands of our students and bringing project-based learning to the forefront of our methodology) is why I go on.
Somebody has to step up for our kids. Just like Dorothy once upon stepped up for me and taught me the value of knowing that, “No matter what happens, know that you have the strength, intelligence and courage to forge on. So get off your ass and go do it.”
What I believe is that we all have this same strength, intelligence and courage of which my grandmother spoke. The Book Jam is intended to be a tool which empowers many, many, many of us to apply it.
Thank you for joining me.