I’m half watching the Trail of the Pink Panther and half sucked into trolling for random music videos on YouTube in an effort to go beyond the definition of procrastination. I would rather indulge in some of the worst music to come out of the late 80’s and early 90’s than achieve any type of productivity that has to do with my work. Somehow watching the band members of Warrant and Winger flip their giant, over-teased hair, hump guitars, and profess their love to under-age girls is more productive than modifying lesson plans; an exercise in futility at best for reticent and demotivated youth.

Last week, the school district came up with this plan of attack for remedying the severe lack of parental involvement, high student absenteeism, and chronic educational disenfranchisement in Native American communities. This brilliant game plan involved busing faculty up to their communities over the course of two days. Not only did they not want us there, but the overall tenor of the faculty was one of acridity and disdain. One student had passed on to a teacher that some parents were making a point to not go, seeing it as tool for intimidation. Teachers, saw it as a waste of time and just one more way to enable parents, in addition to the regular placation due to the money the district gets for each child. I would have preferred a stomach virus and an un-sedated root canal instead of the queasiness of the bus ride.

The silence and neglect within dilapidated and depressed Native communities was like a soundtrack that would play over and over  in my thoughts as I met with each parent, even after I left. The broken out windows of sagging trailers, smoke tatooed hornos, lonely front yards, and seemingly empty stores was just a metaphor for the lack of hope and surrender. It felt wrong, I felt wrong; I hated my job and the administration for the setup. I didn’t feel as if I was helping, as if my support and recommendations were hollow; it had been heard before from some teacher before me and likely one that would come after.

I felt my whiteness that day.

So, now it’s about endurance and going back to the source of why I thought teaching was such a great idea. It’s as if I have to embark on this great journey to survive a modern day Odyssey; a gauntlet.

May seems light years away.


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