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Teaching, Teacher Taught?

I don’t know why weeks in January are so long.  Probably because the days in January defy all natural laws and stretch on forever from darkness to darkness with a brief smudge of light in between.  The other problem with January is that Christmas break is rapidly followed by responsibility and obligations.  School.  Homework.  Dental exams and orthodontics appointments.  Planning.  Cleaning.  Litres of coffee consumed over dry historical texts and modern mystery pulp in equal volume, carefully protected between down coat and half-raised arm.  Snow is bad for books, and after awhile it’s bad for sanity, too.

Blah.

One of my fiction pieces is being considered for publication in my school’s Journal, which is very cool.  The editorial panel’s reviews have been surprisingly positive, which is very cool.  I’m not sure how this is supposed to go, though.  I’m afraid to hope that they’ll actually accept it.  It’s one of my, erm… darker shorts, which makes me worry a bit about what kind of image I’m setting up, out there.  Some of the Fiction Project posts have openly rattled at least one of my clients, and another has so many unanswered questions I can practically see them scrolling behind her eyes.

Or maybe it’s just January….

This week, I picked up James Patterson’s Zoo from the library’s Hits to Go rack because whatever brain cells were devoted to remembering to charge my Kobo have evidently been over-written.  The book was appropriately apocalyptic, but light and fast.  Like gritty snow.  There is often free chili available on the library’s second floor at weekend afternoons, which means the crowd exemplifies the weather.  There is so much darkness in those faces.  An unwashed couple took advantage of the partial seclusion of window-facing chairs and the low concrete wall, just as my tutoring session was ending.  I passed security guards working hard not to crack smiles on my way to the Children’s Library.

It is always light, in there.

Packing up Bug’s beginner chapters books and Princess’s graphic novels, picture books for the crew, and ESL teaching manuals for me, and wishing hard for a caffeine IV, I trudged out into the blowing snow and thought about reading and writing and school.  As an outsider, it feels like we’re doing it wrong, batch-teaching kids when we know they’re in different places developmentally, when we know that no two humans learn the same thing the same way, crowding them into classrooms, speaking of mindfulness and introducing yoga practices while sectioning off parts of the library and confiscating books deemed inappropriate for their age.  Arguing about the applicability of standardized testing while anxiously awaiting those testing results….  Policy demands blanket solutions and generalized curricula.  Reality is leftover chili served in styrofoam bowls to people without literacy who are being consumed by the dark.

Or, at least it is, for some.

Sorry for the rambling post, everybody.  I hope the sun is shining, where you are.

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