Looks Shiny, Feels Real

Looks Shiny, Feels Real August 22, 2022

I have moaned about summer ending, but today seeing my classroom and all the people, I felt energized. Honestly, there wasn’t a teacher unburned by Covid and trying to teach when everything stopped. We felt ineffective, since the number one thing that affects academic outcome, is connection. Max Headroom Headmaster makes for a poor educational experience –and no one likes Zoom meetings, no matter how dynamic you try to make them.

Everyone wants pencils and papers and books –tangible things that aren’t screens or tech based, because we’ve spent the past two years attempting a virtual life and no one found it satisfying. What the world won’t admit, but the heart recognizes, is we long for an incarnational experience of everything. Virtual victories and symbolic trophies mean nothing, and they do not hold a place in our memories like actual concerts, actual books and plays and sports and encounters. We want more than the theory of anything, we want the beauty that comes from creating art, working through a problem, learning a skill or a song or a craft, telling a joke and hearing and seeing people laugh. We have and long for people’s faces.

This was the reality, the really real we’ve been missing since March 13th of 2020. We know we will have classrooms brimming, we will have all the challenges that come with such a reality. It’s also true, there is a tangible energy that hasn’t been present even in those present the past two years, as we’ve triaged teaching through the pandemic.

Everyone who teaches, is in it for the beauty of that moment when whatever it is we love, we’ve conveyed in some capacity to the next generation. For me, when I know kids are “getting” what we’re asking them to do, I can hear music in my head. It’s either this:

or this:

And I can tell, that music is playing in the hearts of the teachers as they walk through the halls. We’re all excited in a way we haven’t been, because the school once again feels like a place of possibility and hope rather than a holding ground where we are holding our collective breath.

There are many who fear public schools, but there is truth and beauty and genuine service as devoted and earnest as it comes. Every staff member I know, deeply cares about the long term success of their students, their kids. They teach not for the fame, glory, honor, power or money, but for love of having that moment, and having it again and again and again. They serve because they hope to pour as many riches as possible into the hearts and minds of the next generation. To those afraid, instead of banning books or protesting, come volunteer. Come help with the concessions at a football game or with after school tutoring, or join the PTA even if you’re not a parent and support the school. We always have a laundry list of things we could do, that could use help. Be part of the solution and the light, rather than participate in making the world less illuminated.

Everyone knows, the way that evil flourishes, is if good people do nothing. The way that ignorance flourishes, is when people cease being willing to be good enough to care by providing actual support. Going to go order some school supplies, and get ready for the school year. Prayers and peace to all. Let’s get to work.

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