Monday, January 22, 2007

On Education, Magic, and Why I'd Rather Be Farming.

Ah, school. The source of most of my joy (and stress) over the last 15 years. Last semester was one of the best I've ever had. It was the worst my sister and boyfriend have ever had. I decided that this semester, to go along with the academic probation, they're on my watchlist. I had to push the boy out the door for class today. He didn't want to go to Math (I don't blame him). But if he starts skipping classes this semester like he did last semester, I'm going to push him out the door a lot more. Same goes for sister. It makes me feel like a regular bitch saying this, but I don't want to hear excuses; if you can stay upright, you can go to class. She is NOT allowed to skip class, to hang out with too many boys, etc. Am I mean? Probably. Am I putting my nose where it doesn't belong? Undoubtedly. Do I care? Not an atom. I am concerned for the grades and future of the people I love, and that makes it important for me to be pushing them to go to class, do their homework, etc. And being a bitch makes a good motivator for getting my work done, too. If I slip up, I lose my leverage, and then I start skipping, too. And that's terrible. Because despite my wit, beauty, experience with children, and "above-average intelligence", I still need a degree to convince someone that I'm worth hiring.

Speaking of terrible, I found something that I thought really picks up on the Dark Side of Disney (tm). Quote from a BookCrossing article (here):
What happens when you release a book in a public area and an employee picks it up and delivers it to Lost & Found? This question has formed the basis for a good deal of discussion in the Forum. One thread warns that releasing on Disney property will result in the books disappearing into eternal limbo.
And an actual quote from what I assume is a Disney employee: "This book looks lame, so I'm sending it to our Central Lost and Found department where it will languish in obscurity pretty much forever. I'm glad to be breaking the chain of your stupid book-trading idea." Now, part of me is outraged at the personal attack on Book-Crossing and the BC'er who released that book, but another part of me is utterly horrified by the sheer apathy this person is showing. First: "This book looks lame". Yeah? And? If I were less mature I'd be telling that person "Your mom looks lame". Seriously, there isn't much worse you can call something than "lame" to signify exactly how little you care - you didn't even come up with a more descriptive adjective! That's sad, in many ways. Second: The person isn't even going to leave the book for someone who might want it, and apparently doesn't consider the fact that their comment is annoying and hurtful to the bookcrossing community. That's anti-social to an extreme degree; I can understand being disillusioned after working at Disney (what do you believe, once you know how the "magic" is worked, and how many vapid people are waiting to buy tickets?), but this is just appalling. They could have at least handed the book to a co-worker who reads... there has to be ONE somewhere down there. Finally: What kind of person is glad to be dropping more things into a Lost and Found, especially books, knowing they'll never be claimed?

They're obviously in my age group. No full-grown adult in my realm of knowledge uses the word "Lame". They're relatively intelligent. "languish in obscurity" is not the kind of language my peers are known for using (okay, so my friends do, but I'm picky about my friends). And, worst of all, they work for a place that inspires (or used to, I'm not sure any more) millions of children every year. HOW DO YOU WORK WITH CHILDREN, AND THEN TURN AROUND AT THE END OF THE DAY AND WRITE SCATHING MESSAGES TO PEOPLE WHO WERE ONLY OUT TO BRIGHTEN SOMEONE'S DAY, AND ENJOY DOING IT? How? Why would someone so... lost be allowed to work with children? Granted, I don't think Disney is a role model for kids of any age, these days, but still... the people who work there, of all places, should realize the value those kids put on them. I don't care if all you do is clean up after them, you're important to making the magic happen. Don't ruin it, please.

There are a lot of people in this world who have given up on the entire human race. I've almost done it myself several times, and I'm only 20. Fortunately I was blessed with a father who tried to see the good in everyone and passed that habit on to me with some success. Still, there are times when I wonder what's happened to us, because there's too much stress, not enough childhood, and even though we're living longer, we're also living less well. No one I know is really happy - by which I mean constantly living with that sun-warmed, satisfied, almost sleepy feeling one gets sometimes, after a long day of good, enjoyable work, and friends, and healthy food - and that makes me even less happy. I am going to make a living of telling students that what will make them (and me) happy is performance, even though I know better. What makes us really happy, in my experience, is everything in moderation, and a lot of belly laughs. You can't get that in schools (where they drill reading and math like it will be our salvation), in most workplaces (where we do one thing all day, every day, and the stress just keeps coming), or even in many homes (where we strive to have the "perfect" house with big-screen TV, "nice" car, well-groomed children who we pretend don't have the flaws that we fear they do). Sometimes, I just want to quit all of this, find a cheap place in the country, and start over with a cow, a few chickens and a garden. Then I think I would be missed or left for crazy (which is worse than left for dead, because sometimes people feel obligated to visit), and I go back to my "Education of Exceptional Persons" and "Language Arts Across the Curriculum", and think: at least one day I'll be on the other side of the desk. At least I'll never be rich enough to worry about money.

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