In case somebody is reading this thinking it’s a blog about being a first year teacher in rural Alaska, and is confused by the Lenten makeover. Well, it’s not, really. I found that I don’t know how to keep an entertaining blog about teaching without including any particulars about students. And, as a teacher, I can’t really do that. So instead, being young and a bit of a narcissist, I’m keeping a blog about anything that strikes my fancy. Education never strikes my fancy. That was a lie. I love education. I rather dislike schooling. I despise the bureaucratic nonsense that passes for “standards” and “professional development” as it is imposed upon teachers. In the modern uses of such terms as “education,” “teaching,” “schooling,” “study,” and so on, they are difficult distinctions to maintain, and blur without constant vigilance. Just a few sentences ago I let them blur, and said (oh, blasphemy!) that I dislike education. But it takes too much effort to maintain the distinction.
All the good parts of schooling must be partly veiled: the delightful personalities of some of the students; the cool sports programs some students made, the mannerisms, the way the talk, the way they raise or lower their eyebrows instead of replying, the young woman who showed up for web design ten minutes late, drew a tree with charcoal, and then left; the weird tastes in music evidenced by students switching from the demeaning pop-hip-hop song “can’t keep my hands outa the cookie jar” to country gospel hymns sung in Yupik by some cousin of theirs. If I wanted to talk about *that* I’d have to write a story, and change everybody’s names and traits and descriptions, so as not to be infringing upon laws aimed at protecting the privacy of minors. And, to be honest, I’m not a very good storyteller.
All the lame, irritating, bad stuff, however, is out there, plain as day for discussion. All the data and standards and methods and other various attempts at educational manipulation. *That* I may talk about easily and freely. But it’s hardly worth talking about.
So, at least for the time being, this isn’t often a blog about living in Alaska, or about teaching, except incidentally. For the next month and a half it will, I imagine, be a blog about Great Lent as often as not.