It has been quite the spell. In a nutshell, I’ve been busy trying to handle the chimera that is online-only schooling while trying to stay upbeat and positive, even as the world seems to be descending into madness.
They gave me Public Speaking again this year, and, as we are beginning our persuasive speeches, I reasoned I would illustrate to my young charges how to deliver an argumentative, persuasive speech. The text is contained below and you can watch the video on my YouTube channel here: BBEG: Delivering an Argument
If I still have a job after this, well, jolly good. If not, well, jolly good.
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.
My favorite teachers were those men and women who treated their students like humans. Not as little sponges ready to absorb information and be able to recite it at some future date, but those educators who put themselves on our level so that we might better be able to understand and perform to their exacting standards. Those teachers who worked us like dogs, but treated us as people. Those instructors who were so knowledgeable and passionate about the subject you couldn’t help but become infected by their enthusiasm. Those beacons of Hope in the endless sea that is public education; those foundations for achieving greatness; those brilliant souls who worked tirelessly, never complained, and pushed you ever onward on the path to self-enlightenment.
I attended New Mexico Military Institute for my high school years, skipping out on my hometown, not out of malice or for discipline reasons, but for a jumpstart to something different. Here, I thought, I can achieve greatness.
I certainly didn’t achieve greatness (though I did attain a certain level of infamy in the English department for my brazen shenanigans), but I was put on the straight and narrow by a number of my instructors.