Wednesday, March 22, 2017

bitty words #11

I was expecting a text from my best friend when I heard my notification tone.

But it was him.

Risen from the graveyard of people who don't text back to give a girl a minor heart attack on a busy Friday afternoon.

I looked at the text for nearly fifteen minutes, shock and surprise eliminating any ability to construct complete sentences. But eventually I managed a few words and he volleyed back.

A plan was made. A time arranged.

I walked up the frosty front steps in my dainty heels, my legs shivering slightly in my dress. I pressed his doorbell and waited. How awkward was this going to be after nearly four months of radio silence?

Was I going to have to make small talk?

His Adonis face appeared in the shadowy hall and I knew I did not want to make small talk. AT ALL. I had way better things to do with him after all this time.

"How was the show?" He asked as soon as the door was closed behind us.

Fucking small talk. I shrugged out of my coat and tried not to sigh out loud.

"Pretty good."

"What show was it?" He took a step toward me and the look in his eye sent a whole new type of shiver through me.

"Does it matter?"

He laughed. "You are so good at small talk, has anyone ever told you that?"

I smiled but as a witty answer formed on my tongue, I shivered.

"Are you cold?" He dropped a hand onto my shoulder. "I could get you a blanket."

I spun into his embrace. "No, you'll do just fine yourself."

A broad smile spread across his face. "Damn, I missed you."

Monday, March 13, 2017

My privilege is showing

So I have probably said this often, but TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is one of my favorite books. Top 5, no question. 

I read it my junior year of high school with a fabulous teacher in a sleepy white farm town in Western New York. I spent a lot time in Buffalo for ballet and had plenty of diverse friends but the people around me didn't. It was a book that changed the tenor of our other discussions in class, not just the ones about TKAM. It was a book that sparked my desire to be a lawyer. 

Aside from the effects on my class social dynamic, I love the life lessons we see through the children's eyes. The innocence of trading trinkets with Boo Radley, the simplicity of bartering goods for services, the hardship of being different, the quiet wisdom and struggle of Atticus, the awkwardly obvious truth in the courtroom. I love so much about this book. 

But, I will admit, that I have found my frustration and rage to be stronger in recent rereads. It felt far more removed from the present when I read it the first time over ten years ago. Now it feels like it could still happen in today's America. And that is terrifying. However, I still really enjoy rereading it and use that anger to fuel me to be better. 

Because of the way the Common Core was implemented in New York, our eighth graders now read TKAM. (Don't get me started on this.) And I mentioned to a black student who was carrying it, how much I like it. 

She didn't exactly lose it on me, but she definitely had an opinion and it blew me away. 

She said she hated it. She said it was just one more story in which the black guy isn't a character, he's a tool to make white people morally better or worse. He's a bullshit lesson. She said she was sick of reading about spoiled white kids FINALLY realizing what she grew up knowing already.  

She went on for several minutes. AND IT BLEW ME AWAY. 

I didn't realize how much of my white privilege was wrapped up in my love of this book. I told her how impressed I was and that I was thinking deeply about she said. 

I still don't know how to feel about loving a book that made a young girl feel so negatively.  I do know that I will be listening and being thoughtful as I keep reading. I know I will encourage my colleagues to value the opinions of their students even when they differ from the established thoughts on a "classic." I know I will endeavor engage my students in content that does not make them constantly feel like the other. 

I know I will fail but I will try to be better. 

To reread or not to reread? That is the question.

I don't reread books that often. Sure, I've read the entire Harry Potter series too many times to count and a few others have snuck ...