Dear Students, This is How I’ll Be Fired

Written at the end of my first year of teaching. Funny how things don’t really change, except the awful metaphor at the end…I wish I would have changed that. 😉 

21 April 2010

I hope someday they tell you you’re pretty, and that you don’t need to keep your opinions to yourself. I cannot tell you this because it might come off wrong and I could lose my job.

So many of you behave like former friends, some platonic and some otherwise. I cannot tell you this because it might come off wrong and I could lose my job.

Some of you will go far in life, always wanting to learn more; some of you will not. I cannot tell you this because it might come off wrong and I could lose my job.

I want to tell you not to be afraid, try new things, and to think for yourself and not your parents. I cannot tell you this because if might come off wrong and I could lose my job.

I want to show you how you’ve been manipulated all your life, but I cannot tell you this because I might lose my job.

I want you to see how media and culture have shaped you into who you are right now, but I can’t.

I want to tell you about all the religions of the world and how yours is likely keeping all of them from you, but I can’t.

I want you to open yourself up to everything—not just what’s comfortable to you but all of it, and I can’t.

All I can do is nudge you, prod you, until you feel a bit of pressure against what you thought was meaning in your life. I want your life to be uncomfortable but not stifled. I want you to never be satisfied with what you have or know, and I will push you until you feel yourself sliding down the slope of a mind-bending search for truth.

I don’t do this to upset you or to anger you; I do this so you know for yourself what the world is. I do this so that you may bear me in mind when you teach your children someday. I do this so that you may learn in a way you’ve never learned before: eyes wide open.

I can’t do many things and I won’t attempt to indoctrinate you into my method of thinking, but I have to give you the tools. I have to give you the vehicle to drive yourself to all the people you will become: a student, an employee, a consumer, a partner, a friend, and a caregiver. I will give you the vehicle. I will even give you the keys.

You must take the initiative and get a license. No one can do that but you. I hope you keep in mind though that while you’re driving, others are in the car—you will never only be influencing yourself. Drive carefully.

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