In the days leading up to my grandmother’s death, my eyes lingered on her ninety-year-old hands. As a little tomboy, Arcelia’s hands had mesmerized me. I watched them feed cookies to caged parrots. I felt the caresses she offered to dogs, cats, and pigeons. In the kitchen, her mandil darkened as she wiped her wet
School security officers establish a militarized atmosphere. They also create a sense of imprisonment. This adversarial dynamic heightens student stress. At best, a militarized environment makes learning difficult. At worst, it makes learning impossible. When these officers use deadly force against youth, learning grinds to a terrifying halt, turning campuses, and their surrounding neighborhoods, into combat
As the coronavirus continues to take lives, the lives of teachers and school staff included, the good-educator-as-unflinching-martyr trope is being used to shame those of us who express concerns about IRL instruction. Last month, New York Times’ columnist David Brooks penned a screed that all but accused educators critical of their working conditions of laziness,
Before Benito Mussolini became Italy’s fascist dictator, he worked as a schoolteacher. I find this bit of trivia about Il Duce telling. Most children have their first encounter with public authoritarianism in a classroom, I certainly did, and I’ve heard it quipped that what white men are to policing, white women are to public education.
Several weeks into attending my graveyard-adjacent nursery school, my parents noticed something weird. When I got home from school, I’d grab Mom’s or Dad’s hand and take them on a tour, introducing them to household objects. “This is the television. This is a chair. This is a sofa. This is a plate. That is a lamp. This is its switch. The lamp is now off.” My behavior mystified Dad until he realized what I was doing and burst out laughing.
“Bebé,” he called out, “Myriam’s teachers think she can’t speak English! They’ve been trying to teach her! That’s why she acts like a parrot when she comes home! She’s parroting the ‘lessons’ they’re giving her.” He chuckled as hard as he did when he watched Saturday Night Live.