I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective. Glass half full, half empty kinds of things. Watching my father struggle with his back surgery, it makes things both come into focus and become blurry at the same time.
The nonsense going on in Alabama, Ohio, Georgia, Missouri, heck, Iowa, all have brought into perspective how proud of my daughters I am. My wife and I talked about this last night. She gives me grief about me not giving her a hard time about her views (like we’d have dated a week if I said anything), however, it’s her strength of character and her views that have helped my daughters grow into their own skins. They are strong, proud, young women, who are not going to back down to the aging white, male legislators who are wanting to control them. My daughters, and so many others like them, will be the ones who will rise up and retake the America they’ve heard about from their parents and grandparents. This is not the United States or Iowa I grew up in, and I want them to be the driving force in making this transformation.
I LOVE the fact that through WordPress, I’ve found so many different perspectives on the world. Whether educators from across the country or just random people who’ve come across by feed, I love the different thoughts, the different ideas, and the different emotions that are brought to the service. I started reading this blog titled if you want kin, you must plant kin…by GirlGriot. Reading through her writing, her experiences, she’s opened my eyes to a new perspective. Living in lily white rural Iowa, seeing the world if only briefly, through the eyes of an African American woman. In her most recent blog, Your Privilege is Showing, she talks about a conversation overheard and how it caused her mind to race with so many questions, questions like:
Are things not messed up too badly for every Muslim person who has been impacted by the travel ban?
Are things not messed up too badly for all the DACA youth and adults who are not at risk of deportation?
Are things not messed up too badly for every family that’s been separated at the border?
Are things not messed up too badly for every child lost to trafficking and illegal adoptions because no one ever intended to return them to their families?
Are things not messed up too badly for every child who has been sexually abused or assaulted while in detention?
Are things not messed up too badly for every person raped on a college campus now that there are fewer protections and avenues for recourse for them to protect themselves and ensure their attacker is held accountable?
Are things not messed up too badly for every transgender soldier who can no longer pursue their military careers?
Are things not messed up too badly for every transgender person whose personhood isn’t considered valuable enough to be respected and protected?
Are things not messed up too badly for Puerto Rico?
She also wrote about how if you’ve not noticed “things that have been done and undone since Trump was sworn in and think that things haven’t been messed up too much, it’s past time for you to examine your privilege.”
As a middle aged white male in a sea of white, her blog really makes me take a step back, and look at my perspective on the way things are going. And for that, I am thankful.
We had our last building technology meeting on Friday, and perspectives are changing about what having laptops in the hands of every sixth grader might look like next year. Right now, they get their computers right off the bat, after having a little bit of training and a presentation (with parents) about the do’s and don’ts of laptops. This year has been the absolute worst with sixth graders and computers. Cyber bullying, spam messages, inappropriate messages, being off task, staying up late at home on them, all of this is contributing to some questions about their need, especially in the hands of our sixth grade students. So, we may not send them home right away, allowing for a quarter of digital citizenship training. We may allow for computers to be held if late work starts to pile up. As we talked through this, we talked about the perceptions of students, and how they’ve changed. They “don’t care” if their computer is broken (someone will pay for it) or if they have a violation (I still have my phone). So we asked ourselves, how do we change this, which no one could answer.
As I’ve been writing this blog now for a couple of weeks, I could continue to write about changing perspectives, whether they be with climate change, our economy, our lack of will when it comes to balancing our own budgets. I could write about how today, my students showed a remarkable lack of self-control while on a field trip and when called out, pouted like three year olds (I had two boys who moved away from the group and kicked the ground when moved away from friends. They are sixth, almost seventh graders.). I could write about the fact students are emailing me at 11:00 PM, turning in late work, asking to have it taken off our “late work” list.
My perspective has not changed. Yes, I’m still tired. Yes, I’m still grumpy. But I’m also locked in to do the best I can for my students. Sometimes, that’s a little tough love. Sometimes, it’s just listening to a student vent about a fight with mom and how the fight had gotten out of control. My student was in tears because she wanted to let her mom know she loved her. So, we talked through a couple of things she could do. Nothing mind blowing, but the proper perspective is a must.
So, while a grump, my perspective keeps me grounded and gives me hope.
All I can say is that I hope yours does too. And if not, why not?