Thursday, November 11, 2010

getting angry

See, I have a friend--a good friend--one who's been with me since last year--one who's candid and open and unendingly opinionated--one who makes mistakes like the best of us and will own up to them--one who believes that the only way to make things happen, to really make things change, is to get angry. And he's angry at the school. So, he tries to encourage his students to make change by making them angry enough that they want it. Or, at least the smart kids, he says. He says that what he's trying to do is get the kids to break out of the lie that they've been fed by the administrative body. He does this, and he also puts his race out there by playing the role of "white oppressor." He does it in order to get the kids angry, not necessarily at him, but at certain injustices that "he" is the cause of. His goal is anger. And he achieves it.

I've had a lot of conversation about this lately, and I've come to some conclusions about it. See, whenever he tells me about this stuff--and he confronted me about this, saying that I tend to question his motives a lot, looking at him strangely and not saying anything--it makes me unendingly uncomfortable. And, through conversations with friends, I've realized why:

Most of this discomfort with his style is that I feel that he is playing a part, and tends to manipulate his students into believing in his agenda, however socially just it may be. In a way, another friend said to me, it is "inception." But, the most important thing here is that he is trying to get students angry in order to recognize injustice in the world. His is not a problem of action, rather, or recognition. My thing is not necessarily recognition, rather, action. I want students to have recognized and researched and become passionate about a problem in society, and then change it. I'm about empowerment and action, he's about empowerment in recognition. He is the yang to my yin.

So what does this mean in terms of my own teaching? I want kids to recognize things, but it's never on my official agenda because that's not what I'm teaching, and I don't always have the opportunities to do it. I can't quite put my race out there because there's not much to be provocative about in Read 180, unfortunately. All content is a means to an end goal: being able to read well. I guess I need to find some sort of yang to complete my yin in my community service club...what does it take to recognize a problem in the world?

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