The quote in the title of this post struck me as light and humorous, but simultaneously truthful, effective, and important. I clicked on the article containing this quote only because of the picture with it - a deep red heart made up of equality symbols - the same symbol that seems to have overtaken my Facebook news feed in the last two days.
The author of the article has many important things to say, about bullying in schools, about kids acting as mirrors of the adults around them, about parents and how they should react to the news that their child is gay, about Christians and how they interpret the Bible - but it all really boils down to this quote. This simple, beautiful quote.
"Traffic jams are to be tolerated. People are to be celebrated."
As a teacher, especially one at community colleges in both urban and suburban environments, I interact with a wide variety of people on a regular basis. My students and colleagues are comprised of nearly every ethnic and cultural background I can think of. They are a seemingly equal mixture of male and female, gay and straight. Some are wealthy. Some very poor. Most somewhere in between. They are young and old. Some have children. Not all are married. Some are brilliant, exceptional students. Others struggle and show a quieter promise. Some may never succeed academically, despite my best efforts to guide them. I enjoy working with most of my students. Some are challenging. They can be standoffish, or abrasive, or just reserved and difficult to read. I can't lie - when the semester ends, there are always a few students who I am relieved to say goodbye to. In 16 week increments, I learn about these people. You can only know so much about a person after 16 weeks, especially in a classroom environment. But I see enough to know that each person, even those I find most challenging as students, are complex, remarkable, wonderful people. They are representative of the whole of our culture. They are people to be celebrated. Every one.
For a number of reasons (the largest of which are cost and ease), I have reconstructed my website using a new platform. I thought it might be a good time to reinvent my blog as well.
I have said time and again that I fall off the blogging wagon because either I don't know what to write or I don't feel like anyone is reading. (Let this be a reminder - if you are reading, comment once in awhile so I don't forget that!) My reinvention allows me to refocus. What I have discovered is this: much of what I have to say about the world around me, whether that be related to family, my dog, social issues, my job, poetry, dancing, or something else, it all comes back to education. I teach writing and literature. Mostly composition, but creative writing as well. And especially at the college level, writing is thinking. Writing is a way of processing ideas, communicating ideas, and prompting ideas. This is what I teach my students, and this is what I can practice here. My space to think. Lately it seems everything I think informs my teaching. If my students have this opportunity to think through writing, to learn more about the world around them and to participate in it, then that means I have to do the same so I can prompt them along.
Maybe this all just means that on this blog I'll write about whatever seems important to me at the moment. Maybe this isn't as terribly focused as I'd like to think it is. Regardless, here it is. My attempt to think about things that really matter through writing. I hope they make you think, too.
BA in English