Saturday, March 10, 2012

End of the Road, Burma!

Excerpt from a letter to a friend: 
"Today was just one of those amazing days where it felt so good to be a teacher.  Totally exhausted and absolutely spent, but what a way to lay your head on the pillow and fall asleep."
"I taught my butt off today... you know, there are so many wonderful reasons to spend your life in the classroom... I completely believe this and tell the students all the time, that the classroom is this magical place, especially a high school classroom because it is so democratic.  It's the only true collective experience we all share, where a future banker and soldier and janitor and politician all must sit side by side and listen to one another and collaborate.  It doesn't work that way later in life, but for this time, these rare moments in youth, you can discuss and argue and contemplate all the important subjects of life in this safe environment where you won't be judged or criticized for having an opinion, but rather what you say is valued and praised and asked to be expanded upon.  That's why I love the classroom so much."
"Today I gave the kids classical Roman persuasion speeches then moved to Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and gothic American tales of struggle and loss, country western murder ballads of Johnny Cash, then switched to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and the movies of Johnny Depp."
"I cashed in my lunch time in to run lines with theather geek kids building props and checking costumes for our performancce before heading upstairs to read Japanese atomic bomb survivor tales from John Hersey's Nagasaki."
"Then just for kicks, I showed clips of Apocalypse Now, Pearl Harbor, Dr. Strangelove, and Band of Brothers, before sharing quotes from Churchill and Truman on the bomb which lead into a discussion of Iran and Syria."
"THEN... I went outside and topped off the day with a hard fought game of full court basketball with 9th graders dying to stretch their legs... they actually came to me that morning and made an appointment to play that afternoon."
"Can you beat that?  Can you beat this life?  You can't!"
Anyway... that was my day and that was my letter to a friend describing it...now I guess you and I are friends too...
Thanks for letting me share these joys with you...and especially these travel pictures through Burma over the past two months... believe me, it's not all frustrations and heartbreak...
There's great happiness in this life. I am surrounded by it. I live in a world of magic and art and discussion and shared experience. I revel in it. Thank you for reveling in it too.

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