Monday, July 30, 2018

Trouble with Authority

I began my 67th year (well, technically 68th) with an annual ritual swim in the Carmel Valley inn pool. My goal is to swim one lap per year and think of significant events during that year. Kind of a slow-motion “My life passed before my eyes.”

When it came to my elementary school years, I named each teacher and remember one event from that year. As follows:

       1st grade: Mrs. Williams. Sent me behind the piano with a dunce cap.
       2nd grade: Mrs. Tomsu. Taped my mouth shut for an afternoon.
       3rd grade: Miss Rice. Sent me out into the hall. Like almost every day.
       4th grade: Mrs. Hendrickson. Someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind and I flung
                          my arm back and swatted them. It was her.
       5th grade: Mr. Anderson. Made me duck-walk down the hall and back.

And so it went. Pretty much through high school.

My revenge? To become a teacher and do the opposite with my students. Send them to the piano to play it. Encourage them to speak out. Send them out into the hall to hang their art work. Have them do the duck dance.

And then continue the legacy of Mrs. Hendrickson, who understood that I thought she was an annoying student and ended up laughing about it.

Truth be told, I’m sure I deserved some of those punishments. But mostly, I believe my behavior was a healthy resistance to a broken system. I had the choice to perpetuate it or question and change it. And so here I am with 100 plus teachers from around the world in 35th Annual SF Orff Course to encourage them to make the choices that will bring happiness to children and show them some of the details of how to do that. May the wild rumpus start!!

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