Monday, August 29, 2011

Sweaty Eddie and Sweaty Betty

Back in the baking bungalow. It was only me, but even with three fans, it was over 90° in there.

Now imagine three dozen kids in there, too, sweatily resplendent in their fall finery, hoodies and high tops and tights despite the mercury, slaves to his majesty, King Fashion...

Some people would be foaming with rage if pound animals were kept in the conditions we allow our precious kids to endure.

Look, I know we have a luxurious time of it compared to Haiti and other developing countries.

But this is not Haiti.

Our schools house more wealth than banks--human capital--but our shortsighted, quick profit mentality coupled with mismanagement and comparably low pay for the educators lead to reluctance to invest in the One Sure Thing. Shame on us. Shame on U.S....

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Finally, you're here!
Excitement for this new year:

You're later than usual
(I was wondering

if you'd ever come)
But yes, my heart is racing
with hope and promise

My mind is bubbling
with possibilities and
ideas, and the

butterflies are back,

banging inside my stomach
getting me ready

for that magic bell
when the new school year begins.

--the magical year!!
the year of community
the year of large leaps

--the pivotal year
when all Johnnys learn to read
and shy kids take risks

and we love learning
so much the hour just flies by
and in June, we weep

because, even more
than learning, we have learned
to love each other

You make September joyous--
thanks for showing up

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Rodney Dangerfield of Academia

August, 2011:

She: "You went to grad school at Harvard? Which field?"
I: "The one no one respects."
She: "Education?"
Us: "Hahahahaha!" (but my laughter was bitter...)

My new friend, She, is not alone in her assessment. What is tragic about this very true story is that selecting teaching as a vocation is seen by the academic world as either proof of lack of interest in learning or of lack of intellectual capacity.

While carpooling to an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship academic conference of all the Harvard grad schools about the intersection of Christianity in the disciplines, we introduced ourselves, starting with the front seat: the driver was an astrophysicist, shotgun was a geologist, next to me was a linguist working on his eighth language, another physicist, and then me. When Astrophysicist heard my vocation, he blurted, "Why would you want to come to this event?" I was too shocked to respond. His blurting was the first time I'd faced academic snobbery. The silence grew awkward until Geologist came to the rescue, using heavy sarcasm: "Yeah, why would a teacher be interested in anything educational?" We all laughed--I could breathe again--but I was dizzy with bewilderment for a long while.

A very long while--this still bewilders me.

Harvard's motto is Veritas, Truth.
In this case, Truth hurts.