I know the crows don’t care.
It’s the end of the semester.
I know, crows, you don’t care.
Fora little over 100 years, American schools have used this A-B-C-D-F system to do something.
No one’s quite sure what.
It might be about showing mastery of various skills, or maybe about knowing facts, or maybe completing tasks, or not running the streets breaking into cars.
As I said, no one’s sure.
But we pretend to be EXTREMELY SURE. And then to fight over when which grade is ethical, or permitted, depending on the student, the teacher, the school district, and the fashion.
We continually push kids to believe that grades are more real than the opinions of their teachers, or the quantity of their work, the quality of their work, the effort they expend, the chances they take, and certainly more real than what they learn.
One thing grades are about is rejecting teachers’ expertise and autonomy.
Although an online system for communicating with students’ families has existed for at least a decade, a big part of what some teachers are asked to do with their day is to make phone call after phone call.
The crows don’t care.
I left work just enraged.
I don’t have a better solution for grades. The only one I’m really interested in is the “F,” the threat of which encourages someone to come to school occasionally, and to not sit for hours at school staring at Instagram.
F I think is important as a threat.
The others are very blurry.
I was wise enough to walk and walk and walk, after calling my poor mother who sadly has always taken my calls, no matter how annoying.
I walked and walked and my mom had to get off the phone so I kept walking.
Down a boulevard lined with apartment buildings from the 1920s, of about eight stories, passing other walkers with pitties and cocker spaniels on leashes.
I thought my head or heart would burst, and a mob of crows started screaming.
Not at me, but before me, above me, they were screeching and flapping and raising hell in the tops of old oaks, oaks trimmed so all their branches are high, high, twenty feet up.
And I thought the crows don’t care.
The crows do not give a shit about American education, public education, my job, my students, what they could do had they more boundaries that encouraged them to settle peacefully and think. Think and write and think and create.
Crows are not like oh Liz no one respects your valiant attempts to live your values
Because they don’t care.
They don’t care about how middle managers are continually hired to critique people doing the actual work.
They don’t care.
YOU DON’T WANT TO STOP HER FROM GRADUATING, DO YOU?
Over Christmas break, I talked with several friends I hadn’t seen since before the pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but I’m still way less social than I was pre-pandemic. I feel an intense pull to stay to myself, where I can manage things.
The subject of the talks was: how do you care without being crushed by depression?
One of my friends, the answer was weed.
Briefly my answer was crows.
How often, though, can you hear the crows? I don’t think they are as loud as getting high.
But I don’t really know.
How many times can you be distracted by keeping your job, and still have any energy to do your job?
How many times can you cross t’s and dot i’s when your house is on fire, without choking on the smoke?
I don’t know, but the crows were beautifully sharp, loud, free, and fuck-it.
And when they show up, they show up.