Sunday, April 4, 2010

Restive times

It's been the kind of day that's evocative of summer. Balmy temperatures, neighbors operating lawn-cutting machines. The smell of burning leaves and twigs from a nearby brush fire. I spent much of the day outdoors, patching a divot in the driveway, assembling a shade umbrella for the back porch, and wiping off the deck chairs and table. Physical tasks to quell a restive mind.

A conglomerate of national and international media gathers outside my high school as a DA's investigation into a student's suicide yields charges and arraignment hearings. A school community desperately tries to heal while an impassioned public calls for heads to roll. Slick and self-righteous media figures feign compassion as they grasp at half-truths and call for justice.

It's the story du jour, the outrage of the moment, the latest flaming spectacle. Somewhere under the media light lies nuance and truth. Yet the cameras and microphones pick up simplistic anecdotes, condensed for the masses into 30-second digestible bites. All flash and sensation. Emotion and conviction. We know. We know. We're hundreds of miles away, yet we know. We'll give you your objects of ire. See where our finger points. We're infallible. Omniscience is our coxswain.

Despite the media's barrage, life goes on. Students come to class ready to learn. Their resilience is remarkable. Is learning just a convenient distraction, or is it the nature of the teenage mind to be elastic and malleable, always seeking to absorb a new experience and perspective as world view is created inside expanding neurons?  

Existential thoughts color day-to-day interactions. Justice, redemption, remuneration, repudiation. Reactions, accusations, justifications, recalculation.

Next week will bring arraignments and pleas. A community braces. A nation - and a world - awaits.

2 comments:

Kira Erickson said...

Hello,
I find your blog and your idea for your students to blog a very good idea. I would have loved it back in my day. My favorite and best subject is English and I've now published a few of my works. I think it's important for people to hear the other side to the story. I myself hunger to hear what other students and teachers think and feel. I was bullied all through my school years...but I also have a father who was a teacher and know there's only so much the school can do about bullies.
So I just want to thank u for this glimpse into normal life, the behind the scenes from the over hyped media.
Have u thought about letting the students blog about their feelings in regards to this? Not sure if anyone is 'allowed' to say much of anything. Perhaps it could be diary or story form with fake names or no names. Just an idea...it's heavy on everyones mind and could pull out a lot of creativity...a way to vent emotions in a positive way.

Thanks again for the insight...Oh also, if u find there are some really creative writing kids send them to lulu.com. Free publishing site...great place to start.

Mr. B-G said...

Hi Kira,

Thanks for reading my blog and posting a comment. This is a place for me to reflect on my teaching and write about things that are relevant to education and my life.

This tragedy has been felt in both my professional and personal worlds. I write about it not out of a desire to portray any particular side, but really just to show how it's impacted me.

I agree with you that writing can serve as a source of insight and solace. I do blog with my students. Some of them have used their blogs as platforms to write and share personal stories and anecdotes.

I am also a journalism teacher, and worked as a newspaper journalist before becoming an educator. My journalism students will be publishing the next edition of their paper within the next couple of weeks. I know they have three stories about this incident that will be running in the next issue.

I agree that Lulu is one of a number of good self-publishing resources for those looking to find a greater audience for their writing.

Thanks again for visiting.