When one crosses over from an activity, or the verb, of writing or doing, and becomes a noun, like "a writer" I think that is an act of supreme self-consciousness that I've never, in effect, made. I write, but I don't like to think of myself as a writer. I think it's somewhat self-aggrandizing and pretentious. Now, I am a teacher.
I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess tremendous power to make a student's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a student humanized or de-humanized.
During those long years in Oakland public schools, I did not have one teacher who taught me anything relevant to my own life or experience. Not one instructor ever awoke in me a desire to learn more or to question or to explore the worlds of literature, science, and history. All they did was try to rob me of the sense of my own uniqueness and worth, and in the process nearly killed my urge to inquire.
Look at the facts, look at the circumstances if you choose to have an open mind and understand and care deeply about the safety of children in this country in schools. Schools are a weak spot. Bad guys know that they are gun-free zones, because they prey on it. So why can't we be honest about what's going on and do something to help save kids, whether it's having teachers that are trained and carry weapons, dogs in the classrooms, like canines for cops?I think it's very good.