Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Complicated: Update

Well, I got a kind of apology email from Pat yesterday morning. I think Cleo talked to her. In it, she said that she knew the 21st Century material was not ideal, was not giving our teachers everything they needed, but that teachers could glean the good stuff and ignore the rest. She also told me that she had called the publishers and they had said, in effect, "I'm sorry you don't care for it."

She has said this many, many times--every time the discussion has come up, in fact. I wish I had the gumption to ask her, "WHY are we still sending these people our money???" If she herself says that it's not a worthwhile thing...what? Why? WHY?

So, I don't know what will happen now, regarding the curriculum thing, whether we'll have a change or keep sending our church's money to these charlatans.

She closed by encouraging me to continue to teach, but somehow, I feel incredibly discouraged.

What am I even doing here? Generally, in life, in this blog?
I had entertained ideas that this blog might become a book someday--Rob put that idea in my head, and I fell in love with it. What kind of book would it be, though? I don't really know. Memoir? Resource? How-to? And who would read it (other than you, Phil, and thank you for your sweet comment)? What kind of credence would I have in putting forth ideas about how to better one's church education program when I can't even better the one in my own congregation? If I write a how-to, I'll have to put in something about dealing with people who are resistant to change...but I obviously don't know anything about that.

I feel that my call is to help children learn--the scriptures, yes, but also how to read them. Interpretive skills, history, introspection. I don't think this only applies to the 2-10 kids in my class. I think I want to have some kind of larger impact.

But how? I hardly even want to go to church this week.

One thing Pat wrote in her email was that she didn't have the education to make fancy graphs, but she knew what she was doing teaching the kids because she's done it forever. This seemed like a jab at my own education (masters degree, but not a terminal one), and her own insecurity about how it must make me view her. The funny thing was that I had assumed that she had a bachelor's. I thought that she was a teacher, before retirement. I actually don't know a thing about her background, but most churches ask someone who is a teacher to guide the church education program. From her comment, I'm guessing she doesn't. But still...why assume that I'm a snob because I went to school for 17 years? I know lots of very intelligent, imaginative, curious people who never went to college, particularly here in Virginia, where I think there are still plenty of opportunities for people without that education (less degree inflation, at least here near the Allegheny).

The funny thing is, I get that all the time. It's to the point that I don't even mention my graduate degree (in Shakespeare. I'm not even making that up. Talk about useful.). Of course, everyone at church knows about it because I moved here to pursue it.

Why should I be ashamed of that? And why should others assume it makes me look down on them? Really, I don't know how much grad school added to my education and personal development, though my undergrad (at the excellent and tiny Hiram College) was definitely a formative experience.

The heck with this. I don't even know what I'm doing.

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