Another day of hybrid,
What’s out there in the digital land?
Ambivalence,
Probably not defiance,
But more like, “This isn’t real school,”
The kind of resistance that comes with
A lack of accountability,
Clear expectations, or
Maybe, just the realization that some things, well,
They aren’t that important.

Things like educational minutes,
Exit tickets,
Anticipatory sets, domains,
Flex periods, and nearly every
Classroom innovation that there is.

An old professor once said to us,
“Nothing matters to me because I can accept any consequence.”
She was terminally ill, although she never told anyone,
But she had lived a life that way,
Never in fear, never wanting, never being pressured,
She had a long log of speeding tickets,
“I’ll just pay the fine…”
Her point was, that unless a person decides something is important,
It can’t be important.

Kind of Vergara, if you know what I mean.

This day of hybrid won’t be fun,
It’ll be a day of talking to screens,
A day of waiting for kids to check in,
Another day.

Have I become my professor?

In my house it’s
Fantasy football, the kids, not me,
Or
Unreality education, that’s for us all,
Virtual, hybrid, whatever it is we are doing.

Maybe there isn’t much difference between the two,
Neither is real, math matters, a social component,
But
While both are based in technology,
Only one matters.

A career in decline is a sad thing, Think of it, a stud athlete, Years of cheering, amazing gracefulness and power, Then time gets a foothold Robbing the stud of athleticism, Leaving polite cheers, memories, and the sadness of retirement. Or how about the politician, So with it early on, so charismatic, so caring, Then, after all the voting, The debating, and the shaking of hands, The politico starts spouting some dumb shit, Becoming an editorial caricature. I’m feeling that way as a teacher. Adults are time thieves, stealing every bit of time from our kids, It’s not just teachers, but also administrators, and parents Forcing subjects, high level math, unnecessary languages, and Hours of homework on kids Who never really get a chance to just be kids. Our children are always on, If not homework, Then on the phone, rusting surfers of the internet, Maybe they are scheduled into programmed play where Sports leagues are more interested in the payout for the owners Than the development of the kids. I hate that it’s this way for kids, Without being a curmudgeon, my career is on its decline, School used to be about relationships, learning, and social health Now it’s about grades, nothing more, it’s a numbers game. Hell, we’ve even taken snow days away from kids While pontificating on how stressful the virtual setting is. SHAME ON THE ADULTS.

Oh, the educational preparation programs…
People are paying so much for teacher training,
Yet getting so little in return.

Not really,
I wrote that to poke my “save the world daughter”
Who is mired in virtual student teaching.

The other day, she brought a challenge,
One hundred burpees a day for a month.
I accepted.

For my life, my hips and hammys have balked
At being bent, stretched, or pushed.
Burpees are the enemy.

Like an experienced teacher, which I am,
I gauged my ability and knew
Regular burpees were out of the question.

Jumping in at an appropriate level, scaling,
That would be the way.
As successes grew, I knew I’d be able to up the ante.

“Dad, these burpees are killing me.”
“Me, too.”
“How do you get them done so fast.”

I could have lied, played an over the top macho game,
“I modified them.”
“You’re cheating!”

“Would you say that to someone reading below grade level?”
“No, but that’s different.”
“Not for what I teach.”

There was a pause, I sensed her smarter than father brain working,
“You’re right, but it’s still cheating.”
I think she was just mad.

I explained the plan, to gradually get to full burpees,
That I am playing a long game, not a short one,
How so many times “big eyes” killed me in fitness.

This challenge is tough enough,
Tapping into every weakness that I have
I’ll get there, but I’ve got to get there without killing myself.

I hope scaling and learning at an appropriate developmental levels
Are still being taught. I’ve done my part to help.
Maybe that overpriced university can send some money back to her.

“Bet”

That once every three or four years affirmative phrase
Goes through our school like…a…v…
Well it’s too soon to make those comparisons,

Anyway…

We were sitting in an empty classroom,
Except of course for the four of us,
Spread apart like a couple of Army guys fearing grenades when

“Bet”

A innocent converstation starter came out, as in the open,
And we tried to make sense of it in a non-military way,
Given the battle between hybrid heads and virtual va-neverminds

“Basic Educational Tactics”

Ah, a simple acronym for describing what is lost in school
Basic educational tactics, schooling, learning,
Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Not all this other stuff,

Social work, lack of accountability, getting kids to turn their cameras on
We used to teach, now we coerce, cajole, and cater,
We are more like a failing business giving out deals than leaders in education.

“Bet

Here’s a list,
Call the parents,
Read the script.

If they dont speak English?
Make an appointment with the translator.
Read the script and she’ll translate.

(Why cant she just make the calls without me reading the script?)

It wouldn’t be fair for her to make all the calls.
She’s our only translator.

(You do know she’ll be on all the calls anyway.)

Uh, hipaa, ferpa, uh…

(FUBAR)

Do we?

My problem is that I have become one of those people,
The kind who must know the destination before setting on,
Before beginning.
I’ve become an backwards processor,
Wanting to know what I am building towards,
Unable to go blindly into whatever people have in store for us.

I don’t want to develop norms of behavior,
Especially with people I’ve known for over thirty years,
We get it, work together,

We do.

I’ve done these things before, many times,
The vocabulary changes, the paperback books have different colors,
The authors are the interchangeable, published before perishing.

And there is my problem, novelty isn’t real, purpose is uncertain,
Recycling really only happens in education, where ideas come, go, and
Come back again as the latest greatest educational tool gooing…
Yes, I meant “gooing” because what is happening drips like slime,
Its long, slow dollops nothing more than a waste of time.
Time that could be spent in the classroom working with students.

That’s what we do.

It started with compelling ideas,
A day unlocked, practical writing wisdom
Shared in the dark of a morning
Through a Masterclass from David Sedaris.
I felt supercharged,
Then Jocko and Goggins chimed in.
Walls were ready to be broken down
Because my mind was wide open,
Ready roll, and full of the creative juices
That have been missing for awhile.

Apologies for the name dropping,
No not really, consider those citations,
Not in some gussied up style, but
In an appreciation of what they shared.
Be consistent (Sedaris, 2020)
Challenge yourself in spite of fears (Jocko, 2020).
The rain is a metaphor, mofo (Goggins, every effing day).
Yeah, I’m taking liberties with the academic form, but
It’s important to know,
I was ready to go.

Was.

The brick and mortar was tough today.
Kids were still at home, wrestling with the digital demon
While we were left to answer emails, talk to the computer, and
Try to make sense of the idea that we must work together…Duh.
We played a game, loosely titled “Reform”
Where we tried to list all of the educational initiatives started
And abandoned in the time we had been teaching
Which for the four of us is approaching the century mark.
The board that we write on with dry erase markers was nearly covered.
The laughter was sad.

And I was broken, first thinking it was just a computer cold,
You know, how you feel sluggish from staring at a screen all day.
Then I began to realize that the walls were sucking the life from me,
Stealing my soul in a way that Goggins would not appreciate,
For instead of giving me energy, I was wilting.
I had no excuses. I was letting the job get to me. It’s me, Jocko.
The whole thing, the union, the admin, the lack of thought,
My consternation, it was all too much and
The energy from the morning was gone, I became nothing more than an
Old man falling asleep on the couch while sitting up when I got home.

Tomorrow is Saturday. (The end of the vignette, DS…)

I am too tired to write
My mind is dull from staring a a computer screen all day
It’s barely 7:30 (not even) and I’m ready for bed
Teeth brushed,
Bladder drained,
Covers tucked back,
Done.
I will sleep through this night
I won’t even know I’m here
My mind will be gone
Tripping on its own endorphins
With dreams of fancy
Hopes of being digital free

Free of the logarithms
Free of the advertising
Free of the blue light
Free of that kryptonite feeling