Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Welcome to Broadway!

I just tossed my mother's 2010 calendar into the dumpster. I hated to do it. It was entitled "Birds of the Wild" and there was a cover picture of a beautiful red bird sitting in snow. The toss itself was symbolic: Goodbye 2010! What wonderful changes can I make in 2011? And I knew deep down in my teacher heart - something HAS to CHANGE!

I'm not a confrontational person. I'm a peacemaker. And I can usually understand both sides of an argument. I have the utmost respect for all opinions and will defend to exhaustion anyone's right to have them.

But this past year has made me weary. I'm a soldier in what some have called "teacher wars." We have been participating in an ascending battle over the definition of effective teaching, whether teachers should be evaluated on test scores, whether we are highly qualified as determined by federal law, whether our schools are failing our children, and on and on.

Today I have on a red shirt - it's Red for Public Ed Day! This peaceful way of promoting education is only one of many ways I've chosen to fight the nay-sayers. I have blogged and panel discussed and webinared and essay written to promote public education. But as I watched that calendar sail into the trashy abyss, I realized that I have to do something else.

I have to dance.

The energy I expended being mad at Michelle Rhee this past year, for example, was energy I could've used to push my grandchildren on the swingset. The blood pressure numbers I earned after watching the trailer for Waiting for Superman could've looked much different if I had offset them with exercise and healthy eating.

A new doormat I recently purchased reads "Live, Laugh, Love" not "Hate, Be Stressed Out, and Die." So things are changing in 2011.

I just signed up for a dance class called "Broadway Dance." I'll be learning choreography to show tunes; I'll be high-kicking in production numbers - I'll be living, laughing, and loving!

Oh, I'll still stay on top of what's going on in the education world. And I'll probably continue to get angry at the injustices that teachers have to endure. But then I'll dance to "I Hope I Get It" from A Chorus Line and get my mental bearings straight.

By the way, I did grab that calendar out of the dumpster. The pictures will be recycled, new artwork for my office. And as for me, I'll continue to wear Red for Public Ed, and like that red bird in the snow, come out of the abyss and find a new life.

Only this time I'll have dancing shoes on.


Sioux Roslawski said...

I agree totally. We have to find joy, no matter how battered we get.

AnthonyCody said...

Is it either/or?

I have been dancing at least once a week for the past year at a local funky church that rents space to an expressive dance class. Every week I go and let loose a bit, rambling around the dance floor, moving my great big body in ways it did not used to be moved. And I am still engaged in fighting for our schools.

I understand the need to de-stress -- my dance class is one of the best ways I know to do this. But I also find that engaging in the work of defending our schools makes me feel less stress in a way as well. When I see Michelle Rhee, the most stressful thing is my feeling of helplessness. When I get involved in actually DOING something -- working to organize teachers for the Save Our Schools march in Washington next July, for example, I feel as if I have some power. I have not been silenced. And I find comfort when others join me and we raise our voices together.

Cindi Rigsbee said...


I'm so glad to know I won't be the only dancing teacher! And, no, I hope it doesn't have to be "either/or." Sometimes, I do get weary, though, because the climate is so TOXIC these days. But you, of course, are my hero when it comes to fighting for a cause, and I'll continue to be right there behind you, dancing shoes in my hands...

dayle timmons said...

I just finished reading Teaching in 2030 and it was music to my ears! I hear the rhythm of a new dance and it gives me HOPE! Inspiring book!