Monday, September 28, 2009

Much talk, little meaning

Pretty tunnel vision.

I'm torn in opinion about the president making so many speeches in a relatively short period of time. I'm all for speaking less in order to say more. But I also agree to some extent that people will ignore you unless you are in their face constantly. People get wrapped up in their own world, pushing anything not within their immediate circle out of sight and out of mind. It happens.

The first day of school, the principal decided to show Obama's back-to-school speech in the MP (that's multi-purpose room in teacher lingo) for any class that wanted to see it. My class voted a majority for going. I would too, if I were them, just to get out of the boring lessons involving nothing but the textbook fighting to keep from going on a mind vacation.

So we went. I had read the speech transcript online the night before. Plus, NPR talked incessantly about it during my fifty minute commute that morning. I enjoyed it I suppose, but I couldn't help but take a mind vacation anyway.

Then my parents wanted to watch it online in the middle of the week. And of course I'm their IT person, so I set it up and was made to stick around within ear shot in case the computer exploded or something. Because that's what my dad does to computers. That and allow trojans to infiltrate our system like water goes through a sieve.

THEN I had to sit through another showing of it in EDTE 226. By this time, I was pretty tired of the speech. It was the end of the first week back at teaching and I was pretty tired, period. So I was grumpy. And ended up being rather critical of the speech. Out loud. Teachers, of course, are usually too polite to flame people with anything other than raised eyebrows.

Still. What did he mean by telling students they can achieve anything, then turning right around and telling them it's highly unlikely they will become sports stars or pop icons? What did he mean by implying that success comes only through college and school and higher education? I had just finished reading Tyack, so I saw a lot of bureaucratization going on here. With such a dramatic speech, given in such a dramatic way, I'm suspicious of any underlying intentions that the government has for the education of its people.

Disclaimer: I don't disagree with everything he said. I just have questions about a good portion of it. The stuff about working hard, having a good attitude, and overcoming difficulties were pretty good.

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