A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Pardon the F-bombs

***The hysterical, but profane, embedded YouTube rant, made by an angry Philadelphia Eagles fan, was removed as a result of incessant nagging by my mom ... ***

Why at 51 do I still eat, sleep, and breathe sports? The roman leader who, in order to distract the people of Rome from their everyday misery by building the Colosseum was a genius. In full state-testing countdown mode, I needed a good laugh, and found diversion in a link I found in a article about DeShaun Jackson in the Washington Post. Of course I should be entering grades and this is the last thing I need to be doing, but I live on the edge, with disaster and redemption always on the horizon, so this is par for the course.

Ali's portfolio is due Monday. Last night, Ali called and said that his mom told him that he would not be able to work on Friday night, and would not be able to work on Saturday, because he would be at his cousin's house. In response, I told him, "I don't think we're going to make it, but it's your choice."

On Thursday, half asleep and feeling utterly overwhelmed, after school, I picked up Ali at his house at about 6 pm and we drove to the public library. Upon arrival, I realized I had forgotten my computer, which we needed so that I could use the Power Point presentations about Westward Expansion so that I could teach him the part of the movie where America rose from a vulnerable baby zebra of 13 states in a jungle of European global powers to a rising continental power, with a sense of Manifest Destiny. We returned to school, and worked in my classroom until 9 pm, and Ali demonstrated understanding of how Florida, Texas, Oregon, and California were added to the United States.

Last week, Dr. Easton met with our school's testing coordinator and did her inspection of Ali's US History to 1865 portfolio binder. Dr. Easton's task was to ensure that I had done nothing to subvert the process in place to ensure "testing validity," that I had not jeopardized my school system's and my own professional credibility.

The scary but lovely testing coordinator, Ms. P, advised that Dr. Easton was a little concerned about the amount of transcribing I had done, a process that was expressly recommended to me after I mentioned to the three ladies from our district inspecting Ali's binder that teaching the content to Ali felt like sucking an ocean through a straw. During that meeting, I questioned whether I needed to provide an audio recording, to prove that I was not cheating but was advised that recording the process would be unnecessary. Considering how I need to sign an affidavit on Monday, while Ali has done most of his own writing, and I have only done transcriptions of entire documents selectively in order to preserve time, the amount of transcribing I have done still utterly terrifies me. Ms. P, I can tell, has gained a respect for my thoroughness and attention to detail. In her written comments, Dr. Easton had many positive things to say about the quality of evidence documenting Ali's demonstrations of understanding, despite Ali's documented learning disability with decoding, for which he receives ancillary speech and language services, as well as specialized reading classes. Ms. P advised,  "don't worry about anything else, just finish collecting your evidence." While Ali and I were given actual school time during 5th period yesterday, thanks to my good friend, Ali's Language Arts teacher, our prospects for completing the task of demonstrating knowledge of Woman's Suffrage, Abolitionists, and the entire Civil War in a day, perhaps on Sunday, seems as likely as General Custard must have felt when he found himself surrounded by angry Native Americans.

At least I have time to enter grades today. On the bright side, maybe Ali's cancellation is a blessing in disguise. So today, once again, I will follow the advice of Coleridge and suspend my habit of disbelief, work diligently on grades, and miss watching Joe step on the mound as a starting pitcher for the first time this season. I don't drink heavily or do drugs, so needing to preserve a little sanity, as a lifelong Washington sports fan, I am incredibly thankful that I was able to enjoy witnessing the pain and misery of a fan from a rival team.