As the days leading up to me returning to education pass way too quickly I find myself filled with consternation. I have been on hiatus for over a year now. I have traveled. I have created. I have sheltered in place. I have started my brand. I have made money independently. I have crafted every day of my life to be exactly what I want it to be. My time has been mine for the first time ever in my adult life. And now I have to prepare myself to surrender it to the institution once again.
I feed off of energy during my lectures. I look into the eyes of my students. I read the room. I put people on the spot who look at me quizzically by asking them to throw their questions out on the floor. I bless those who sneeze. I engage those who appear to be sleepy. I raise the energy level in the room to the highest possible level. Now I wonder how might this skillset that took me decades to master be inhibited by Zoom.
I have never taught an online class. The idea of lecturing to a computer screen has never been appealing to me, but here we are in the Fall of 2020. I fear that Conference Zoom is not a proper conduit for my soul. I am afraid of the disconnect that has been brought to education thanks to COVID 19. I am not sure how I will face it. I am not sure that I have the patience to return to form.
Human avarice knows no bounds. People will get over any way they possibly can especially in these times of economic woe. For the most part I have come to take a natural attitude toward this reality but there is one realm of society in which greedy people always manage to piss me off.
The education of poor children is probably the biggest scam in America. So many agencies gain money from the continued failure of black and brown children that it’s disgusting. Thousands of grants are given to people who don’t care about children at all.They are unscrupulous individuals who couldn’t care less about the daily struggles of a teacher to inspire a child to read a book when that child has experienced more tragedy in 12 years than most people do in a lifetime.
Teaching is for broke people, they say. The real money is in educating teachers to teach toward standardized testing. In order to be successful one must look at children as if they are data, statistics, and ultimately dollar signs. Then and only then will you see the big bucks. Think outside of the classroom, think outside of love, and think outside of poverty.
The truth is that schools are a business that will always be profitable because people will always see education as a pathway toward success. And poor folks will almost always want better for their children. That’s why demagogues line up around the block to be the next superintendent for your nearest inner-city public school and that’s why today’s entrepreneurs are choosing education over real estate because business is booming.
Trust me when I say that non-profits are very profitable and there is much more money in making promises to raise test scores in ghetto schools than there is running a beauty salon or opening up a liquor store.
What makes the situation even more disturbing is there are a huge number of minorities who are getting rich off of poor kids of color. A parent whose child was victimized in the recent Atlanta test scores scandal described that situation as “The worst case of black on black crime ever seen.” As a person who has worked in the field of education for my entire adult life I don’t know if I can disagree with that.