A few lines composed during state standardized testing

Their heads are bowed
in suspended animation
or it could be silent prayer.
There’s a good chance
it’s a little of both.
Bodies hunch over,
shoulders thrust forward,
shielding their fragile flame
from the storm of data disaggregation.
An uncomfortable silence
stretches on into the abyss of
“Thou shalt not write outside the box”
and flecks of pink eraser.

All this a mockery
to the life of individuality,
the promise of self exploration,
that previously filled the halls.
My students –
knowing and yet not knowing.
A horrible amalgamation of
imposed requirement and Schrodinger.

These momentary glimpses
at the normalizing of standardization
and erasure of student identity
makes me want to rip down the sheets of paper
I used to blanket their work on the walls
and throw a ticker-tape parade
with the shredded test books
as we celebrate a return to creativity.

Featured Image: Pixabay – “Desks” by macco0514 (CC0 Public Domain)

The Pause

Pictures this: You are lying in bed, and the gramophone in your brain is winding down its last tune.  It’s soft serenade is lulling you into sweet repose, and the Sandman, that darling little cherub, is preparing a graceful sprinkling of dust to send you over into dreamland.  Then someone’s big hips bump the table.  The needle scratches across the groove, the Sandman rolls his eyes, snaps his fingers, and disappears, and you’re left with an infinite rehashing of every.single.blasted.thing.you.still.need.to.do.

As an educator, this is almost every night.  Even the glorious, though poorly named, “Holiday” and “Summer Break” offers little in the way of respite.  Last night on the eve of returning from Thanksgiving and making the final turn towards Christmas break, visions of writing assignments and short stories and classroom discussions danced in my head.  Even today, I could not stop my mind from leaping forward.  How sad the silent urgency to always be planning instead of stopping to enjoy the moment with your students.

When I first started composing this post, I was on lunch.  That delicious 30 minutes of time during the middle of the day when I have the opportunity to turn my thoughts inward.  I had intended to write about an educator’s need and, dare I say desire, to burn the midnight oil.  Now, it is well on in the evening, and that midnight oil has already been burning my vigor for a couple of hours.  Even in typing these words, I’ve just realized I do not want to write about work.  At least, not tonight.

A few years ago, I blogged only about education: my students, my experiences, both good and bad, the newest educational technologies, and a myriad of other educationally related topics.  Then I stopped.  Cold turkey.  I even cut off my incessant microblogging using Twitter.  It’s been relatively quiet in my head for the past couple of years.

I’m not saying I’ll never write about work.  I think it crucial for personal progress that we become introspective and reflect, regardless of our stated professions.  However, I think there is a fine line between reflecting and obsessing.  Obsessions consume you like always discussing your job consumes conversations.  

If you live in between the grooves of the record, you might always be stuck there.  This is the proverbial “life is what happens when you’re making plans” soundtrack skipping.  There will always be another record to play.  For right now, it’s time to live in the pause.

In response to Daily Prompt: Vigor
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Gramophone” by Bogitw (CC0 Public Domain)