Okay, so I don’t so much mind the part where Monday I have only two of my classes and Tuesday I only have one. But to go straight from that to Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week, with all of my classes, including my hour-long class for each, two recess duties, and at least one meeting each day… I’m gonna have to adjust to that “hit in the face with bricks” feeling.
(It’s the meetings I really have issue with. Not all of them need to be as long as they are. Ah well, the woes of being a teacher, amirite?)
Briefly home before I have to go back to work for study hall, have some stuff I reflected on this morning:
One of my goals this year, as I teach a course on revolutions, is to lead kids away from thinking of revolutionary figures and their pushes for social change as incomprehensibly crazy. Not that every single revolutionary individual gets painted as crazy—that really depends on the biases of the historian portraying them—but it happens enough that I find it to be a problem. Saying “wow this person was crazy” or “wow this ENTIRE REVOLUTION was crazy” holds up a stop sign to the act of understanding and prevents kids from understanding why people took the actions they did to change the world.
The thing I realized today is, I’m equally annoyed at historians who portray tyrants/oppressive figures in power as incomprehensibly crazy. Because again, it throws up that stop sign. Understanding why a particular tyrant or dictator does something—even the strangest things—doesn’t mean you’re condoning those things. Often enough those things are part of how that tyrant consolidates and wields their power. They usually tap into something that has resonance for their culture. And the thing is, if you can understand how power is constructed, it becomes easier to dismantle it.
(Like oh… with Nero, for instance. Everyone goes on about how Nero was this “insane” tyrant and yeah, he was not a nice emperor. But so many of the things he did and was said to have done tapped into Greco-Roman mythic traditions, like those of Orestes and Oedipus and Hercules. Which became part of how Nero constructed his authority. It had this authoritative pop cultural resonance and that can’t be overlooked.)
I’m against discussing history in terms of “oh wow what crazy” because not only is it ableist as hell, it often divorces people from the choices they made and the actions they took. Some of which were bad choices. Some of which were good ones. The point is, decisions were being made at every turn, and I want my students to think about their own decisions.
Going to my neighborhood café today to work on writing. At long last! It won’t be until after study hall, but it means I can work over dinner.
I don’t know if I’m quite ready to tackle main book plot yet—have to work my way back into my narrator’s voice—so I’m going to be trying out the prologue for the story. I’m torn on whether or not I want the prologue to even be in the story, honestly, as I find most prologues in most books annoying and superfluous. But I know that they’re sometimes useful, and this one could be quite useful. I might as well try to write it down before I decide whether I need one or I don’t.
And whatever I decide, at least I’ll have it to rework if I want.
What kinds of projects are you guys working on?