Today is my first day of summer vacation. My school was one of the last to close in the state of California which means that I am fried, frazzled and freakin’ spent.
On one hand that’s good because to me it means I left it all on the table. I gave sweat, blood and tears this year. I also laughed a lot. And as I reflect upon my recent blog posts, I realize far too much of the joy of what I do day in and day out is NOT evident in my writing.
That’s sad. Therefore, I decided to insert a fart joke right here.
See, they always work. (I really shouldn’t be giving away the keys to my writing techniques but hey, I have more… like booger picking references and belly button lint allusions.)
But alas, I digress.
It’s SO HARD to keep a sense of joy about things these days when so much of the news about schools is so raw and salty. Though I am still pretty young (I graduated high school in 1985… you do the math) I have never seen the mood so dour. And it’s cause of our finances.
The economic meltdown has come to town. I mean no one has ever really held up the city of Los Angeles as a pillar of educational excellence (pockets, yes — on a large scale, no.) But when I see headlines like these in the L.A. Times, I just want to bury my head under the covers and pretend that the implications of this decimation to our school funding isn’t going to screw over tens of thousands of kids in the next few years. Not just a few, but tens of thousands of students are going to be negatively impacted in a very direct, very severe manner.
So trying to put a smile on my face — and the face of others — feels a little Pollyannish.
On the other hand, I am supremely optimistic because our schools are long overdue for immense change and I think that this destruction of the dysfunctional status quo can be the impetus to bringing in a host of new ideas, new energy and new opportunities. People are going to be forced to do things differently — and that excites me. And there are very few sacred cows right now that aren’t being severely scrutinized. From the Dept. of Ed having a “rename NCLB” contest because of its abject failure in so many regards to the Governator showing the hangman’s noose to the dead tree textbook publishers to unions having their feet held to the fire for trying so hard to protest the weakest links in the teaching chain at the expense of the professional reputation of the rest of us, so much good stuff is happening under foot right now.
And so, summer begins. Maybe I’ll take a break. A break from blogging. A break from writing new books. A break from developing new curriculum materials to help reinvent some of the fossilized, static, outdated materials currently being peddled to us in our modern-day classrooms. Maybe I’ll take a break from thinking of ways I can be of service to this field I so dearly love.
Then again, maybe not. When you avocation and your vocation are the same thing, you’re a lucky son of a gun.
And that’s why I have no problem making — and smiling at — fart jokes. We need them, now more than ever.