PAD Thai humor?

my favorite Thai dish... my favorite Thai organization? can't speak knowledgeably about that...

although it is controversial when comedians make light of the serious dark nature of so many world events – and i am no comedian – i did find it extremely humorous when i heard about the recent events taken by the People’s Alliance for Democracy in Thailand. i found the humor not in the event itself but in the all too familiar world of acronyms. and my personal affiliation with the dish from Asian cuisine. in the need to find humor in the sad and frustrating realities of my school site (also concerning acronyms), i thought a post of seriousness with a lighter perspective would be personally therapeutic if not anything else… including substantive.

School starts with Stifled Steam and Sequestered Sails

after working all year to ensure a smooth start to the rapidly approaching school year, my colleagues and i were in for a shock when that work was slowed down and devalued by administrative oversight and some would say quite accurately, incompetence

among the various reform mandates heaved upon us this year, superintendent brewer’s High Priority School District, moving from year round calenders to traditional, and restructuring the school into Personalized Learning Communities to name a few… our staff took to the task of preparing ourselves to be the most successful in the coming year. our principal however was busy “taking a gamble” on norm projections (despite mounting evidence of LAUSD’s enrollment crisis). he over hired, anticipating the district to not enforce their policies on enrollment ratios to teacher positions…
in short he gambled with people’s jobs, their livelihood, their emotions.

hiring 9 new teachers, the already committed staff took to the task of welcoming them into our family and supporting them immediately into the difficult work of pushing this massive school in the right direction. they were committed and excited for the challenge. and we were excited to have them on our already fabulous team. then, on the very day much of our difficult preparation was to culminate, he told them that they could no longer be a part of they had worked so hard for.

9 new teachers, “displaced”. a tragic but all to common scenario in LAUSD. (not totally biased i try to include multiple perspectives, including the screwy district i work for… but pay attention to the word “generally”)

but what of the rest of us? his apology, if it could be called that, was not felt. and although his intentions may have been in the right place, he stepped right back to the task of making our jobs more emotionally and mentally impossible, exhaustible… in short he asked us to fix the problem that he helped engineer. and when we tirelessly came up with a solution, he allowed us to go home feeling somewhat accomplished in the face of adversity, only to email us at 9:30 PM the night before we were to initiate our new plan and ask us to modify it to an option that had been previously and unanimously deemed as the worst option…

welcome back to school… hang on to your seats ladies and gentlemen… this is going to be one wild ride.

Addicted to Stories

my name is mark gomez… and i am addicted to stories. as i sit and watch with anticipation (some would say anxiety) the final episode of The Wire, i am forced to realize that i am an addict. stories, histories, herstories, narratives, fictions… for the entire summer i have been hooked on a steady diet of stories from hollywood, comic books, blogospheres, cartoons and the list goes on. the only story i guess i haven’t been paying due attention to is my own.

escapism.

maybe it is the fact that through this steady binge of narratives i have come to realize a little about their nature. that the sun always sets at the end. panoramic shots inspire reflection. threads tied together make a nice knot in your stomach, those that stay untied leave a different kind of knot, the one that leaves you craving for more… ahem, addict… dialogue, no mater how cheesy, is usually premeditated. sometimes the wrong characters die and sometimes the right one does. and for however similar the stories i have been up on are to my own… there are some fundamental differences.

my life has been written by so many different authors. and it is not finished. that brings up another type of knot…

It’s my edblogative… I can do what I want to do

I was going to write about my recent glimpse into the inner workings of ed reform monster that is TFA this summer… only 4 days since i was grinding in out in a desk, watching beginning teachers struggle with lessons informed by a backwards pedagogy of immense institutional proportions… but….

i was reading Clay Burell’s wonderful blog (which you can also see on my blogroll), waiting for my curtain call to beat the traffic, sipping coffee, anticipating a weeks worth of hard work (brought to you by the wonderful people at ISCA) designing a unit on the Fall of Rome (i have redesigned this unit every year since i have been teaching it, thinking it will be my model unit one day… maybe this year)…. when something in Clay’s recent post hit me…

there are times when i don’t feel like blogging about educational issues… when i don’t feel like connecting the dots in a way that everyone can see… why do i have to be the one to show that all things are interconnected? when i blog about the Joker and Anarchy, why does it immediately have to connect to educational terminology? what if i just want to write about my summer adventures in the less than mediocre housing market, or my thoughts on whether i have sold out part of myself to bite off a little more of the American Dream than i can (or ever wanted) to handle, or how the role of football coach has given me a new sense of urgency to wake up at five in the morning to go pump iron but has also served as nolstalgia for a past that after my father died i had struggled with revisiting…

my blog can and should more often reflect itself as more of a personal narrative… and that is when the ed gears started clicking… not that the pre-homework assignment that ISCA gave me on Silent Spring (especially E.O. Wilson’s after foreword) didn’t resonate immediately with my current reading of the Watchmen graphic novel, but after reading Clay’s blog about how one of his professors assigned them to choose an artifact from their personal lives and write about it…

let’s just say Antero’s suggestion that my students analyze the Fall of Rome thru the lens of a personal narrative depicting one’s experience in a declining empire….
can someone say video blogging?
traffic time….