Wednesday, August 18, 2004

rallying the troops on the penultimate day

Mr Amato gathered virtually every Orleans Parish school system employee -- 10,000 of us -- for a rally in the UNO arena. Each school had an assigned area. We all wore our colors. There were gold, silver, black, and white balloons arranged in twisted arches on the stage. A lot of speakers, mostly speaking that empty rhetoric people with doctorate degrees in education speak. But when Mr Amato took the podium it was different. He was wonderful. He said, "Everywhere we look we are shining." At the end of his speech about a third of the audience gave him a standing ovation, including me. I think I was the only one from my school to do so. I think all the rhetoric of the past has embittered teachers in Orleans. It's completely understandable. They've heard it before. All we can do is give it a chance and wait, and see, and hope, for the sake of the children, that things work out.
I was disgusted with the rudeness and disrespect among the teachers when the all star concert band played. Teachers. They demand to be listened to but they don't listen. It really gets me, especially that they don't listen to the children.
Back at school in the afternoon. A movie called Glory Road is being filmed here. The guy who played Antwone Fischer is the star, and he was wandering around school in 60's clothes. We teachers had to work around the film crews and their equipment and hundreds of men with Brill Creme in their hair and women with teased up beehives and sweater twinsets. I asked one of the crew members who was directing the film and he said, "I don't know. Some asshole."
One of the English teachers told me she already loves me! Then an assistant principal came to my room and told me I had to have my rules and consequences posted! I told him I don't have rules and consequences, that I just request respect among us. He looked doubtful. Strike one. Then he said I needed a bulletin board. I told him I don't do bulletin boards. Strike two. Then he asked me what I teach and I said English and he said that with all the maps it looks like I'm a geography teacher. I tried to explain that I think maps are always relevant and got another doubtful look. But it'll be okay. He'll see. (Unless that was strike three.)
The children are coming tomorrow, looking to be raised. What an awesome thing it is to be in a position to help the youth of the human race, to know that they still believe in us, and to be given the chance to facilitate their rising.

Disposed of: two items of clothing that I'd gotten from goodwill

Melanie Plesh


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