Of course we all face them: evaluations. We are constantly evaluating our lives, our work, our hour-by-hour existence. Do we measure up? Do others measure up? Do our families measure up? To what exactly, we may not be able to define, but for starters: to the neighbors, to our colleagues, to our bosses, to our lovers, to our friends, to each other, to the check-out clerk, to the driver behind you, to our family members, to our children, to our parents, to someone else’s standards, to the committee we serve on, to the people in the meeting with us, to “them”, and to God.
Today, in my brick and mortar teaching life, I had a formal evaluation. As a teacher, I’ve been through many of these and they always make me nervous…will I measure up? I don’t change my normal plans; I simply move on with wherever we are and with whatever we are in the middle of trying to accomplish. In this case, we’ve been taking a snapshot of our own humanity in the 1930s and with To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m working on a theme-based semester and how bias, stereotype, prejudice and injustice cause dehumanization of both the one with the bias and the one they are bias toward.
We finished a section of the book yesterday which included the first two witnesses in the trial and the questions we were addressing today centered around the lynch mob and the way Scout brought the men back to humanity, disintegrating the mob mentality with the innocence of everyday conversation.
I always wonder what my principals think when the first five to seven minutes of class are students writing silently and with me writing right along with them. An incident at school had many of them writing about the injustice they perceived had been done and that led right into the discussion of the novel. My students were incredible. All I did was to wander from group-to-group and listen while they articulated their ideas and offered evidence from the reading to support what they had to say.
I think I heard angels singing some kind of alleluia. I hope I measured up.