Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Since this blog is my own unique form of relevant irrelevance, I thought it might be nice to go over a few rules for kindergarten. From Mrs. Pohlmeyer’s Kindergarten webpage:
We are always good listeners.
We are helpers, not hurters.
We are walkers, not runners.
We are builders, not breakers.
We are talkers, not shouters.
We are quiet workers, not players.

Elementary school teachers are fundamentally scary. They evince this urge to control and make virtues of conformity -- I don't suppose it seems ironic to this one that "play" should be subsumed in "quiet work." A nation of "quiet workers", huh.

There's a reason why 99% of the world's supply of ritalin is consumed by suburban american boys who are faced with this kind of control system each morning at 7:15. (Nothing like imposing education on children when they are too tired to stand up, because it gets the school staff home earlier in the day.) Man, I actually mourn for what my sons have missed, hammered into form by these people, childhood and its mysteries shunted aside by rulebooks organized alphabetically by mediocrities like this one. One could go on. I won't, though, it's too late to confront this ethic, one may only, and subversively, encourage that which Madame Teacher abhors. Arghhhh.
I can't help but misread her BCISD as BDSM, which is where a goodly portion of these kids will wind up, in search of some measure of pleasure after being shamed for so many years by such people. That teacher's website should really foster its own satirical counterpart, at which point some of her nonsense will be better self-explanatory.

Of course, I am completely wrong and she only wants what's best "for the children."

What about all those little girls who happen to fit very nicely, thank you, under Mrs. Pohlmeyer's rubric of good behavior? That is, of course, until we grow up and figure out it isn't all quiet so nice, ending up confused & depressed chronic liabilities to insurance companies writ large. We start online commentaries of various types, perused to varying degrees -- that is, when the online world isn't too busy looking up odd folk art renderings of Winston Churchill or surfing for inarticulate libel -- with the hope of some inspiration not often found in anything leather bound.

This was really a simple post about sad and I sincerely doubt any article of leather will coax a better mood -- not even a pair of cashmere lined kidskin gloves (and that is why I have three, you know, always losing a glove). Some days it's all very messy, being too sensitive and all, but I'll always keep hold of a little optimism. Why not? All's well that ends well (no doubt): "oft expectation fails, and most oft there where most it promises; and oft it hits where hope is coldest, and despair most fits."

To your comments: on this, once again, I disagree. Kindergarten rules can be very useful given a preference for a modicum of order within the chaos that often follows bands of five year olds. You can argue that Mrs. Pohlmeyer's rules are clever to the point of being glib, but after any amount of the mind-numbing Tellatubbies & Wiggles most parents appreciate glib; it's the first step on the road to imparting a love for humor tinged with sarcasm. Granted, Mrs. Pohlmeyer might not find the random readers' critique of her rules using sideways references to human peccadilloes helpful.

I must say M'ville, from your comments I bet that you are/were a big fan of Milton Friedman. May he rest in peace.
I was/am!!!!

"Free to Choose" has lost any meaning in 21st Century America, unless its baby killing, which of course is noble choice.

Sometimes its the disillusioned hyperactive boys who grow up to express their disillusionment in on line blogs.
You got this where again? The United Nations Website?
Modicum of order: perhaps this is a better commentary on the idea of shoving 20 five-year olds into a room to be "taught" by someone with an "elementary education" (it *truly* is) degree and an IQ of 101.

But thanks for the Shakespeare and of course, having chosen a comedy, you are suggesting (as did he)) that in the end we may rise above foible and distracting concern, even spleen, and happily perceive our own transcendence. (Then exit stage left, laughing, oft to lie down in love.)

Friedman has no successor, certainly. Who is our leading "public intellectual" today?

--Manville, staring up at the Heights
I'm of a mind to be generous with individuals who willingly brave twenty-odd five year olds for six hours a day five days a week over nine months. It requires unique herding skills and if those skills work best with clever rules, well...I'll suspend judgement.

And as for transcendence: Do we have the capacity to precieve it or, possibly, do we comprehend acts of persistence and emotionally and intellectually accomodate whatever may come our way. Our mind's eye happy ending may not be as "transcendent" as the real thing, but we don't know that until our effort gives up its fortune.

The Heights, hmm.
Have any of you ever stepped into a classroom of young children (and I am not talking about when you were in school)?

I am a teacher and to get anything accomplished in the classroom, ground rules have to be laid. This is not that different than living in a community. It is just like having a speed limit, having laws against using drugs, and basic social rules like talking and not shouting.
It's always puzzling to read that "teachers" think they have a monopoly on understanding how to teach. I guess they're taught that in elementary education curricula? As in, the rest of society doesn't teach, doesn't interact with children, and has no insight in developing children? As in, prior to the teaching lobby and the "certification" of "professional" teachers for government schools, human history is devoid of learning? How did Descartes ever invent himself without their help?

Well, that's all amusing, if quickly dull. Now, if I may run the risk of being guilty of attempting actual thought:

What's insidious is a "professional" inveighing against children's capacity for social disorder, by referencing laws against dangerous drivers and violent crime. That's all you need to know about standard issue "teaching" and the control fetish that dominates public schools. The children are *little criminals* absent the stalwart efforts of unintentionally self-parodying sorts with "teaching certificates".

Anyway, I must, finally, appreciate the humor of this, because, as the Warden states, "ground rules have to be *laid*." But I doubt s/he meant it as s/he stated.

[Footnote: I posted earlier in the week on la femme Ennui's All's Well reference -- Shakespeare and love, Emerson, and optimism. It's out there, somewhere, awaiting approval?]

It does sound world oriented, perhaps a reflection of some 'culture & self esteem: creating shared meaning among the classroom tribe' continuing education course.


I'm still with you on the rules. I have too few & lots of cognitive dissonance.


My apology for the electronic ether. Even though your earlier thought is lost, or misplaced, or still to be delivered, your mention of Emerson was enough of a reminder to self-correct. I'm reading & that's good, at least I think it's good. But it'll require time to change this tack.
Like a drug dealer or dangerous driver, obviously (put him on suspension and Ritalin); apparently, this child didn't get the memo, the rules, or the writing on the wall:

4 -year-old Accused of Improperly Touching Teacher

"BELLMEAD- A four-year-old hugged his teachers aide and was put into in-school suspension, according to the father. But La Vega school administrators have a different story.

Damarcus Blackwell's four-year-old son was lining-up to get on the bus after school last month, when he was accused of rubbing his face in the chest of a female employee.

The prinicipal of La Vega Primary School sent a letter to the Blackwells that said the pre-kindergartener demonstrated "inappropriate physical behavior interpreted as sexual contact and/or sexual harassment."

I'm sure I hit the wrong button, in my haste, so that's where my post went.

Emerson's always useful for he professes the optimism of one who is confident in the goodness of the Self (its capacity to understand and transcend), and the treachery of received wisdom and authority.
Who are you people? It is comments and thoughts like yours that has our education system in such a disarray. If "adults" would support their community instead of complaining about something that they have never even HELPED to mold then maybe I could see your point. I am a teacher and VERY insulted. I spend 70+ hours "teaching" our future. How dare you insult my peers. It is people like you that have set the stage for our youth. People that expect our classrooms to be what you want it to be when you have probably no real experience in this setting. You know nothing about the concept of teaching or how students learn. You do have options sir, if you think teaching and getting 20+ children on and/or above level is so easy then take your child out of school and do it yourself! It takes a village to raise a child. Think about this, what makes you think that teachers make the rules? If you had your way in the classroom. You would be fired! Your students would be below level and parents would be pissed that YOU wasted valuable learning time. Its like saying that you can essentially do what you please while at work. Teachers are not the ones prescribing the Ritalin! Get your facts straight! You make classrooms sound like prisons! I teach in an area where our children love school! Sorry that you didn't do your part. Go BE a part of something big instead of putting down a a dynamic profession of men and women! I would love to continue this debate if your are man enough. :)
This is really weird. I'm the author of this blog, the former Iowa Ennui, and the last post "i" left had something to do with cooking and my feet hurting, having stood over a stock pot for too long. At this point it isn't just my feet, my hips hurt, too.

I may be a child at heart, but my head says --... (pause) get it figured out. thanks. I am exhausted and want "this" to end, preferably without at a power/money/religious group fight.
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