I had a great last class; lively, fun, and funny. Many of them did well, too, which I always enjoy. Some didn't, which is the nature of what I do. I once read a long-winded whinge from a community or junior college English instructor in which his snivel was that instructors like us were the
"...academic button men. (We) roam the halls of academe like a modern Coriolanus bearing sword and grade book, “a thing of blood, whose every motion / Was timed with dying cries.”Um, yeah.
Word, dude, that's what teachers, instructors, and professors DO. Not everyone can master the Next Level, and if the Next Level - high school diploma, associate's, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degees - is to mean anything it is going to be out of the grasp of an increasingly large number of people.
And so in that sense we're not "button men" but sensei, the blind man with the staff that hits the younglings and makes them think, makes them quick and alert, makes them good - that is, surviving - swordsmen and -women...or teaches them that they will be hewers of wood and drawers of water all their lives because their intellectual swordfighting skills are a danger to themselves and others.
That's teaching and learning and has been since the first australopithecene taught his kids to throw rocks.
Now, mind you, I do think we're doing a lot of this teaching and learning thing the wrong way, but that's fodder for the next post.
But tonight I didn't want to natter on about education. I just wanted to come to a full stop, a night's caesura, and mentally sit on the ground and think over the students I have stood before over the past seven years.I have loved some of you and hated some, too. You have frustrated and angered me, but you have also delighted me, and even enlightened me. I have grieved for some of you, lost souls you were in the howling midnight of a world you couldn't understand. And I have celebrated for the way some of you pushed yourselves high into the hills, above where you thought you could climb.
It was always a climb; sometimes a scenic one, sometimes a grind, always a challenge for you and for me. A climb worthy of us and our labor. But now I turn my back on the hills with no regret.
The light in the window tells me my family is home waiting up for me. I am longing for their silly laughter and their love, I am weary, and grateful for the gentle path down to the warmth, light, and love, knowing I will not walk these hills again.