(or Corona Ain’t All That Bad – can we stop bitchin’ about it?)
My my – it has been a spell, no? You would reason that with all this newfound time that’s been thrust upon me since 13 March I would be blogging up a storm. Alas, my attentions have been focused elsewhere during this Longest Summer.
As you’re aware, my New Mexican comrades, the Governor sounded the death knell of proper schooling and forced the lot of us to once again return to the unreliable wasteland that is the online classroom. Despite my stance on the Angry Flu™ and how we’re blowing things out of proportion, I find myself near-hamstrung by her latest imperial edict. Render unto Caesar and all that jazz, but really, we’re going to stay at the bottom in education if we don’t have butts in seats. That’s simply the best way to learn: with an instructor pointing out your errors and praising your successes in person.
Na ja – it’s out of my hands. No use complaining at this point.
But as I have oft reminded my charges and my equally melancholic colleagues, we have a duty. And although that duty now takes us to the uncertainties of online learning (and all the mischief that entails), my personal feelings on the matter are moot. My duty remains the same: the kids.
In short, I do not look forward to online learning and yearn for the day we return to the classrooms – triumphant and filled with energy – but I will seize the proverbial hill because duty must come first.
Also: stop talking down to us, Governor Lukewarm Grizzlyham. You shit, same as everyone else, and you’re not special. Your war against public education in the name of safety is a farce.
Now then: enough political grandstanding and melancholic overtones. Let’s get into the meat and potatoes, eh?
Well, if you’ve been following the news or you find yourself a captive of the Land of Entrapment, then you’re well aware my state has gone full pants-on-head-retarded over this Coronavirus nonsense. While I will admit that precautions are certainly necessary to prevent a full-blown outbreak of the Angry Flu™, I would also counter that washing your goddamned hands and not fucking sneezing on motherfuckers is an acceptable strategy over complete public shutdown for three weeks.
But because we’re not content being 51st in education, our governor decided – after a few I-40 octogenarian yankees contracted the Angry Flu™ – that, in the interests of public safety and preventing further cases from sprouting up across the state, we’d best cancel school for three weeks. Never mind the virus only afflicts the weak and infirm (a natural process of biology); we must act – in the interests of public safety – to prevent an outbreak!
Never mind that we’re a full five hours from this non-issue virus: public safety!
Never mind that we’re one of the largest states with one of the smallest populations – a relic of the Wild West: public safety!
Never mind that a healthy, young person – like teenagers attending public school – might be miserable for a week but remain unscathed; it is more likely symptoms won’t manifest at all: public safety!
Never mind that the Public Education Department has banned public education: public safety!
Never mind that the War on Terror continues without pause, the War on Drugs continues to suckle billions from the federal teat, that accusations of governmental corruption continue in that fetid swamp of DC, that the Democrats and Republicans are tearing each other apart for yet another go at the coveted Ivory Tower, that the stock market is tanking, that the oilfield is suffering, that people have been whipped into a frenzy via media flagellants, that idiocy reigns supreme over logic and reason: public safety!
Never mind the state of fear bred by elected officials, media personalities, and your tia on Facebook: public fucking safety.
On Thursday evening last, comrades, after the news of our educational demise was announced by those pompous asses in Santa Fe, ah, how I went into a fury: three weeks. Not even the camaraderie of our staff book club and ample pints could dampen my rage. Indeed, I’m still absolutely livid with this Dolchstoss.
Three full goddamned weeks stolen from my charges; ripped, like babes from a pleading mother, by the grotesque hands of barbarians who neither understand their reason for slaughter or its long-term consequences. How – how, comrades! – can this woman in Santa Fe run on an education platform and then gut us so severely this late in the term? Et tu, Lujan?
Yes, yes, I’ve heard it: public safety. Again, certainly, precautions must be taken – that is not in dispute: it is the methodology that irks me. This knee-jerk reaction to the most miniscule of illnesses; have we forgotten how much deadlier the humble flu is than this cheap Chinese knockoff? We have ne’er banned school for three weeks because someone had a cold. You know why?
Because you can wash your goddamned hands and not fucking sneeze on motherfuckers to prevent its spread. Ah ha! Look at that – the simplest solution to the simplest of issues! Where’s my goddamned Nobel Prize for Medicine?
Yes, I understand we needn’t have an outbreak, but I must counter that the blackguards in Santa Fe went about this all wrong. They are burning down the house to kill the rat. Indeed, they have created a lie from nothing in order to do what, exactly? Prevent the spread of the Angry Flu™, a marvel that targets the weakest members of a biological pool (ya know, like literally every other virus, plague, disease, what have you)?
Consider me cold. Consider me callous. You are justified in such sentiment. But have we considered that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few? Let the weak, the infirm, the elderly try their hand with this overhyped nonsense: we live in the United States, the most powerful nation in the world. The odds, like in the Hunger Games, are in their favor.
What the governor did not consider – the raison d’etre – were the thousands of students who now must suffer the loss of formal schooling for three weeks. These same students who must now watch their parents descend into media-induced barbarism as they scramble for toilet paper because some fuckwit on the television told them to. These same students who are robbed of the chance to pull New Mexico out of the educational cesspit it’s been languishing in for so many decades. These same students, comrades, who now must look agape at what their futures hold given they’ve been forced into this uncomfortable state of fear.
State of fear: that’s what this has done. The shelves at the grocery store are empty – like my classroom – because people are afraid. And people who are afraid are easy to control. The enemy isn’t at the gates, comrades, shouting their bellicosity from afar; no, they hold court in Santa Fe and Washington. And if you disagree, consider this has been hyped up past 11 right when the primaries were heating up. Nothing like a good scare to convince Americans to vote this or that because our leaders promise safety. McCarthy must be grinning in hell.
Certainly, in this 21st century of ours with all the technological know-how and what have you, we can resort to distance learning: put everything on the line and let the kids teach themselves.
Ah, fuck it all; what a dreadful idea. Without human interaction – an encouraging instructor to point out errors and praise success – robots are a poor excuse for education. If it wasn’t, well, there’d be no need for boots on the ground. And yet you cannot replicate the classroom setting on the line in full: you can try, with varying degrees of success, but it will never be the same. Having kids in the classroom is one of the greatest joys of this calling. To believe otherwise is foolish and ignorant (you can probably find a job in the governor’s retinue with those qualifications, however).
Now I will admit I am heated as evidenced by my inflammatory rhetoric (you get the allusion in the title, right?) and my desire to bite my thumb at my so-called superiors. Certainly, I am bellicose and impassioned with ire; how could I not? My calling, comrades, is to teach, and to be neutered in a single swipe of a governor’s pen; it’s maddening.
On Friday – my last full day with my charges – I launched into an epic fury, such was my rage, as I railed against this educational injustice, public safety be damned. Indeed, one of those moments you look back on and think “I might get in trouble for saying this.” And then – in the cold clarity of carefully constructed choler – I came upon the realization that I’ve been given a golden loophole: I can’t teach at school.
But I can teach where’er the fuck I want.
To that end, comrades, I must report with certain satisfaction that the inaugural Corona High’s first session went well-enough. Despite being denied a pre-promised conference room and Mother Nature seeing fit to literally rain upon our parade, we held class and continued our studies as if nothing had occurred. Indeed, it felt far more promising and enriching given the small class sizes and genuine interest of the participants. For all my rage, I did not forget my raison d’etre: my kids. For all these setbacks, those kids didn’t forget their studies.
Comrades, the reasons I take fault with this hyperbole is because it directly affects our students, and thus, by extension, our future. By robbing our kids of valuable school time so late in the semester, we are dropping our low bar even lower. Indeed, it’s no longer a pole vault but a limbo. By allowing kids to see that fear is more valued than logic or reason, we indirectly encourage them to simply go with the flow and not make waves.
But I have faith in my kids – in those kids who are refusing to bow to fear or kowtow to distant disturbances – to carry this beacon forward.
We’ll continue to have class, Corona – and Santa Fe – be damned. Education is far more important than so-called public safety, for indeed, an educated populace is a safe one. An ignorant one, well, go check out your local grocery store to see how they fare.
Class at noon tomorrow, kids. At the park. Bring the goddamned thunder.