social freaking justice
I am writing, as usual, so that you will share my pain with me. I have to do an assignment for my student teaching seminar which will also be included in my "portfolio" (due in a month. Have I started? Of course not. Do I care? Not at all). I have been putting off this project all year because I think it is the epitome of the essence of quintessential bullshit. You know, it doesn't even warrant the gift of calling it bullshit, because I would much rather do something related to, or in conjunction with, the poop of cows, rather than this assignment. This is more like death by a thousand tiny but stupid lasers.
The assignment is a Social Justice Action Project. What is that, you ask? I answer: something that makes me want to weep and also whirl around and around like the Tasmanian Devil or a Dervish until I start to drill into the ground and then, upon entering the core of the earth, are exempted from this assignment. Here are the instructions I was given:
VII – Social Justice Culminating Project – Due April 13, 2006
- Develop a reading buddies program for your students, where they are paired with elementary students and engaged in an after-school literacy endeavor. You may choose to make this an extra-credit project for your students.
- Involve your class in community activism. This might include student participation in a community event such as New York Cares Day.
- If your school already has a service learning program in place, involve your class in one of the projects.
- Develop a professional development experience for teachers that attempts to address and remediate the most pressing social justice issue at the school. Present your ideas to your colleagues at the school.
- Develop and implement your own justice-oriented action project.
- Page 1: How do you conceptualize a justice-oriented citizen? How do you make meaning of social justice and connect it to justice-oriented citizenship? How have your experiences as a high school student and as a student teacher exposed you to differences in resource allocation in schools?
- Page 2: Which of the above action projects did you choose? What was the purpose of the project? Explain the features of the project you developed.
Crazy, right? My personal favorite idea is to develop a social justice professional development for the teachers at my school. I can only imagine how they would react to something like that. I would probably be skinned alive. Another thing that I like is the reflective journal. Don't we all love reflective journals? I know I do. No one asks us to keep reflective journals on our teaching, or whether our kids are actually learning a goddam thing, but we have to keep a reflective journal on the process of a social justice action project that is ill-defined and which no one seems to be able to explain the purpose of? GREAT. THANK YOU, ED SCHOOL. I'm sure this is going to be so helpful to me in the future. Especially if I am on a game show called "Name That Ridiculous Ideological Nightmare" or "Things I Am Ashamed of" or "Something that Will Never, Ever Help a Student; Not Ever." Although I guess I haven't heard of a game show title with a semi-colon in it. But hey, I also had never heard of a social justice action project, and yet here it is.
The next question is: what am I going to do? Well, that was my question two days ago when I called my Mom crying and asked, "What am I going to do?" My biggest problem, other than the fact that I think taking up school time with this ridiculous nonsense is not only a waste of time but actually morally questionable (given the obviously partisan tone of the project and how far behind my students are in real school), was that I have my class of kids only 3 times a week. In the next month, seeing them 3 times a week, I have to get these kids from Industrialization through World War II. I have calculated that I have less than 5 days for all of World War I. So even one class period is precious. I could do it after school, but I actually use that time to plan actual lessons. That kids will actually learn from. So I was upset and convinced I wouldn't graduate. Which, considering, would not be too disappointing. As it is, I plan to never speak of this school or degree ever again, unless I have to. "Do you have any master's degrees, Laura?" they'll ask. "Only from the school of hard knocks," I'll say. Anyway, my mom, being a very sensible lady, pointed out that I am teaching the Gilded Age right now, and had a lesson coming up on the vast gap between rich and poor, and that I could use that! Think of it! Doing a for an assignment in grad school! She is truly brilliant. Seriously, people, you just wish you had a mom like mine. She flies and stuff.
So now it is time to write this up. I'm somewhat afraid that I will be failed on this assignment. However, I will keep my dignity and self-respect anyway. I will keep you updated. Send your prayers, or, if you have the power, please fire the people responsible for this project. Hey, you never know who's reading. (i.e. God).