Hands and prints by my HS Art students…

cardboard relief toltecalliCollaborative cardboard “Desert Relief” made by my HS Art students.

I thanked him. I currently teach at a small charter school in South Tucson. School culture and climate are uninhabitable for very long. Half way through my third year and I’m feeling exhausted, burning out like the shooting star…I want to share and give to my students, I love to see them grow and experiment, fail and eventually create things they are proud of. I came in with such enthusiasm, I wanted to show the world to my students, I want them to realize the world has endless possibilities and they should be curious to see all of the colorful variations of humanity and listen to the winding of unfamiliar melodies we chant. I was excited and honored to teach art and to create a community of “kindred spirits” like my favorite high school art teacher created for us. I’m not sure if I’ve been successful in this venture…Many students are severely apathetic to put it politely. I’m becoming exhausted by the pack mentality, by teenage boy’s thirst for dominance and by needing to be “in control” of classroom. Teachers are expected to police; we search student’s bags, monitor lunch detention and academic probation. Semantics of a future imprisoning. I don’t want young people to be so hurt they shut down and lash out. I’m only a teacher. I can not be held responsible for years of mistreatment, broken homes and the shell of apathy they’ve acquired to deal with it all. You can lead a horse to water…You can yell until you’re blue in the face. You can feel completely undervalued. You can give up like many of my colleagues and succumb to the same apathy. Nothing will change until society sees the necessity for change. I hope that I can maintain my own peace of mind and that it will be contagious to them. It’s difficult work to do, to always be cheering on mediocrity and begging them to pick up a pencil…I’ve experienced depression too…maybe that’s what it is. Fear of failure is so strong that they won’t even try. It’s a noble cause, they say. The world however, functions better for those in power when the population is numbed and ignorant. Is education a losing battle?

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