...should defend themselves, against the 70s. Just got off the phone with a friend who is a 10th grade English teacher at an inner city school. He despairs. "They don't want to learn, they don't have a concept of how to learn, and I have kids in my class with severe learning disabilities who have been 'mainstreamed' so I can't teach UP to them without teaching DOWN to the rest of the class." His litany of woe continues: "I don't see one scintilla of intellectual ardor in any of the 28 students in my class. They don't care, the school doesn't care, as long as I don't fail them all, and then they'll go over my teaching history with tweezers and a fine-toothed comb and find fault with me. All I want is for them to pass the high school exam, and since some of them are writing at a seventh-grade level, I don't think that's going to happen."
This is why I am a bartender. My students choose to come to class and leave happy, although the chances are good I've taught them nothing at all. Except that tipping is a great American tradtion.
I try to buck him up. Tell them, I suggest, that their brains are a weapon that they can point at the Man, and the Man is constantly trying to sand down their weapon, and only by keeping it honed can they triumph over adversity.
"Do you really think any of these kids know the meaning of the word 'honed'?" he asks, resignation dripping from his sigh.
So say "sharpened". They know that word.
I fail to buck him up. Education in Alabama is doomed to churning out Taco Bell employees.