Friday, July 17, 2015

Angel from Adelaide

There is a Bonnie Raitt song called Angel from Montgomery that we enjoy singing on these cool summer nights while mixing cocktails and playing with our Saint Bernard, Cal.

The title made me think about the angels in my life and how they appear at just the right time to make a difficult situation a little bit better.

I've written before about the current lack of joy in education;  the subjective teacher observation protocol with little to no accountability for administrators,  an evaluation method designed to promote failure and therefore putting into question the validity of the entire rating system, the fact that my worth as a teacher is partially determined by the standardized test scores of students I never taught, the onslaught of excessive paperwork that serves no pedagogical purpose and takes me away from educating my students, the lack of support, and the political vilification of teachers.

Although I continued to fight the good fight and tried to remain focused on the positive aspects (i.e., my students and their families) the constant barrage of disrespect had worn me down.

Then my angel appeared in the form of an educational consultant who literally wrote the book on listening.  Once upon a time, in happier days,  Lisa Burman was a guiding presence at our school. A great deal of respect and joy departed when she left us and returned to Adelaide, Australia.

Happily, she does return every so often to visit New York City. And when she does she finds a way to infuse the environment with hope and positive change.  Her last visit was no different.  I believe she helped heal and redirect some of the collateral damage of a broken bureaucracy.  All through the power of listening and responding in a calm, strong voice.

Change begins with adjusting attitudes and a willingness to continue the fight in the best interest of the children.

The angel from Adelaide planted the seed of hope and unwittingly directed us toward the words of the persistent Lorax...

UNLESS someone like you
cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better.
It's not.


37paddington said...

An angel indeed. The Lorax is so right. The kids need you.

Gary said...

Thanks for that. Sometimes the message comes at exactly the right time and you are ready to hear it. I'll never give up on the kids but sometimes I am so over the politics of education.


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