Vlorbik's Diner

son of owen's cooking show

bread on the waters

Posted by vlorbik on September 20, 2009

so some newyear’s resolutions
are in order.

“plant a flag” i seem to’ve told myself
last time around so let’s see.

moving in with madeline is all but legal.
it has been for some time but it’s more so now.
this is where i live: southeast columbus.

i’ve been walking up and down
a couple of its streets anyhow
for months… this makes it mine
already in a way few others can claim.

it’s only lately i’ve been
chatting up garage sale hosts
or hanging the guitar on though.

more of this.

obviously keep upgrading the wardrobe.
no need to be in a big hurry about it
(absent some immediate pressing need
for some single outfit or something).
“beware of all enterprises
that require new clothes.”

my dad did an edition of _walden_
but i learned this from ma.
it’s not her fault i went ahead
and edited it down to
“beware all enterprises,
full stop”. that was mine.

(digression you should skip:
cf “simplify, simplify”
which of course *begs*
to be cut…)

anyhow, the real program i’m dancing
around here is to have some doggone
“this is who i am” thing…
to pull myself together
into something tidy enough
to present behind some particular
public “face” that will ID me
in a word or phrase.

this is surprisingly hard to do.

i’m a teacher, obviously
whether i like it or not
(it happens i love it;
i’ve had a great life so far
as i sometimes overlook to say).

which i’ll go ahead and break down.
*performing artist
*passer-on-of-the-traditions
*human face of the institution

and i love the first two of these
and have all my life; the struggle
is then to accept the need for
the institution and learn to,
yes dammit, love the part of the work
that’s about control.

there was a guy back at dominican
who’d sometimes say of students
“you can’t be their *pal*”
with a sort of withering scorn note
on the “pal”… sounding of some
real bitterness too but at the same
time sort of smacking (for me)
of something he’d *been told*
(by, to finish out this fantasy,
some more experienced teacher
in his early days).

a good deal of the “ed wars”
would seem to be about whether
teachers should long for the
“first learner” vibe…
“i’m quite a bit more experienced
than you folks in some areas, but
we’re here on the same project:
studying math. there’s some rules;
many of them don’t make sense
even to me. life is like that.
let’s try to avoid the rules
to the best of our ability
and see what we can do
just by studying math.”
kinda thing.

of course we should. like i said:
the *human* face of the institiution.

this is just common
side-with-the-underdog
sense: one is presumptively
pro-student just as one sides
with prisoners, with labor,
with veterans, with the “disabled”,
with the unemployed, and with
victims of sexism, of racism,
of “homophobia”, and of all the
rest of the divide-and-conquer
oppressions that define the
lives of so many.

but still. one stands at a gateway.
of course the point is to see
that *others* actually get *through* it.
now, we can just check people off
on having done certain tasks
held by all the authorities
to be routine.

or we can do the human work
of actually trying to *help*
somebody in some way.
if only by helping them
accept the necessity of the routine
in achieving some greater goal.

i can do that.

_the_class_. wow.
this guy stars in a movie
of a book he wrote about
himself teaching a class
of french highschoolers.

nobody should be simultaneously
as good as this guy at so much.

and just the thing for a viewer
obsessed with power-and-control
issues in contemporary classrooms.
(it’s even scarier than i remembered.)

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