Friday, February 10, 2006

Okay, so, like, I'm a high school teach-er and, like, there's so much dra-MA!

I do teach high school and I choose to, so my being constatnly hip-deep in drama is not really remarkable nor, really all that undeserved. It doesn't fail to astonish me, however, the brand and amount of said personal thespianism some of these kids routinely buy themselves into. Today you could color me three shades and four values of astoished.

Our kids in most cases, have literally nothing to want in life, except maybe, more. More of whatever they think they want. With cell phones and iPods and all manner of Labels and Names running around you'd honestly believe we were filled with some of the luckiest kids on earth.

There is something on the air, though. There is a ripple in the current. The surface is churning. There is blood in the water.

There are several issues that have led us to these dark and dangerous passages and all the captains of the troubelsome ships have nothing but rough seas ahead. I say this not as just a high school teacher, but as a former high school student, a parent, a community member, a person who relishes his right to dissent in the proper manner, a political person, a person who values independence and who values independent thought, but most importantly a thinking person.

So, drama. The whole blood in the water thing? Dress Code. At the heart: perceived unfair enforcement of the dress code. But when it gets filtered through several hundred nearly post-pubescent brains and routed through the same number of mouthes it comes down to low-cut tops, high cut skirts and holes in jeans. Whether anyone is actually worried about fairness its hard to know.

So leaving a lot of the actual drama out, here's my point:
Get over it! It's dress code. What's the flipside, the alternative? Uniforms.

When I was a freshman I fought what I fought was a heroic battle against the inequites of dress code facism by constantly pushing buttons and boundaries, with rips and tears and images and words. I got some detnetions, some warnings, nothing big, because I didn't, not because I didn't deserve it but because I didn't push past the big lines. But I leanred a couple big lessons.

One: Everybody has a dress code somewhere in life and the wrong way to affect a change is to fit into a stereotype. Be yourself but don't sell yourself into a mold. Be what you think is cool, not who you think is cool. Being different doesn't mean not being smart or not being involved. The thing high school kids hate to hear ( I know I did as a kid) is that the most effective change is always affected from the inside. You can't help your situation expelled or suspended or by spending time in ISS.

Two: Spectacle always overshadows message. If you truly have an important message, follow the channels, follow the right paths, don't let your actions overshadow your words. I know you hear about a words and actions and what equals what, but let's be clear: to make a point you need your point to be heard. You don't want it to be lost among all the rules you've broken or people you've gotten to break rules. Drama is just that. Truly, it's BS, and when you get caught up in it, whether you mean good or ill, you still end up with crap on your shoe and the stink of it follows you around. Think about what it is you truly have to worry about and does it stack up to the big things? Do you have to worry about gangs, drugs, fights in the hall, being fondled in an overcrowded hallway? If any answer is no then what is the point in showing your belly or sagging your pants to your knees?

Three: It's four years! I've been out of school for 12 (that's three times longer than I was there and life hasn't stopped) now, which, I guess if you listen to popular thought, puts me into the untrustable catagory. But it also puts me into the cateogry of the hard-won perspective. I haven't always had the points of view I do now: I no longer believe in absolutes, I believe in being on the inside to make changes, I no longer think it's my goal to shock people to get them to notice me, love motivates all I do, clothing is still a part of me, but not my identity, blah, blah, blah till your bored and teary. But the point, I trusted people that were older and who I deemed wiser. Not everyone, but find someone you admire, and LISTEN to them. Let them lead you sometimes. Learn to trust. REMEMBER: it's four years and then life starts. Hopefully, a long and happy and satisfying one in which you outlive all your teachers, find joy and simple pleasures and revel in the warmth of friends and family and loved ones.

Leave the drama for the O.C.

matisyahu - live at stubbs
wilco - summerteeth
velvet underground and nico - gold
belle and sebastion - dear catastrophe waitress
postal service - give up
(on random)


Oden, Miles said...
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Oden, Miles said...

who are you. ? .