Lots of New Beginnings

It’s an interesting day here in my face-to-face world … a rare, peaceful day at home with the familly for me, thanks to the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday and the Presidential Inauguration. Several of us have been battling a respiratory bug over the weekend; all that seemt to be left is an ugly cough and a general feeling of tiredness. I have a very few lingering tasks from first-semester classes, and I should be able to accomplish those this morning. Everything is ready for tomorrow’s new classes, plans in place for the rest of the week. A whole, peaceful, unscheduled day awaits.

What a rare, precious opportunity in the factory-world! All too often, scheduled breaks are excuses for Ms. X and Mr. Y to send home worksheet packets for their students while they, personally, relax … or “catch up on grading” or write lesson plans they have no intent of actually following.

In a factory world, large blocks of unscheduled time are a terrifying threat. You might “get in trouble,” or worse. Of course, everyone knows that creativity and originality require those large blocks of unscheduled time … but in the factory world, creativity isn’t for everyone. It’s certainly not for those bad, lazy students that Ms. X and Mr. Y seem both to fear and to desire to have in their classes! (For all their complaining about badness and laziness, Ms. X and Mr. Y construct their classes in ways that are almost guaranteed to produce those “bad” and “lazy” behaviors … so at some level, they surely must desire to see such behaviors, if only to complain about them in an ugly self-fulfilling pain-punishment cycle.)

What might those “bad and lazy” do, Ms. X and Mr. Y fear, if they did have unscheduled time? They’re too afraid to find out, too convinced things will go badly … so they never provide such time, never help their students develop self-management skills and mindsets, never provide any practice, then fuss and complain when their students aren’t proficient at things they’ve never practiced. Their students, in turn, half-convinced that they can’t do the things Ms. X claims they’re incapable of, all too often live down to those low expectations, doing their part to perpetuate the cycle.

In a post-factory world, that cycle will end … but who will break it first? And how? And what’s the proper role of joyful community in the transition?

Published in: on January 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

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