Withstanding the Walkers of the World

A few years ago, I made a decision to make students my top priority despite the inevitable and constant political noise around us. Students are the reason I started teaching, and they will remain the reason I stay teaching. Period.

One of my students informed me that an instructor in another class asked all his students to watch their instructors for behavioral changes during this budget crisis. As observed here and in other comments, the prevailing expectation is that teachers will become distracted, leading to a reduction in teaching quality. My hope is that us teachers won’t succumb to threats from the latest bully in our midst because he is neither the first nor the last.

Let the Walkers of the world wield their whimsical words of the week to secure their precious re-elections. A commitment to students is a long-term one, of which politicians know little. A quick review of history reveals that at any given time, some insane minority has managed to gain power over the majority, subjecting them to rules of the most ridiculous kind. Alas, one doesn’t even have to read to learn of this tragic historical redundancy. As I have recently done, one can easily obtain movies like Martin Luther, Roots, The Poisoner’s Handbook, Lincoln, The Butler… . Of course, this majority always claims that their way is the only rational way, although the contradictions are clear. (E.g., slaves are like cattle, yet humans may breed with them. Yes, this was accepted as perfectly rational. In fact, it was seen as “God’s way” for more than a hundred years!!)

I hope this interruption of our regularly scheduled programming in educational excellence is temporary. As in wiping-his-feet-on-the-rug-on-his-way-out-the-door temporary while teachers stay the course for their students as they always do. Unfortunately, the rug is our state this time, and as Kunte Kinte so aptly demonstrated, we should never forget our roots and never fail to pass on our traditional public education values. We still hold the power to pass these values on to our students, no matter what the political sway of the day may be. We need to show our young people that we will not allow this bully to hold us down.

More later…

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One thought on “Withstanding the Walkers of the World

  1. Denise Osborne

    Nice text! In these difficult times, it is important not to lose track of what higher education entails; for instance, to promote critical thinking. Instead of asking students to observe possible behavioral changes during this crisis, why not include the students’ voices in open dialogues about how the cuts will affect their lives and their futures? Thank you, April!

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