Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday Wanderings: The Unwavering Hope Edition

--My interview went well.  It is a bit surreal to apply for a job that I'm already doing, that will change with the addition of one more coordinator in ways that no one quite understands just yet.  My current job will be split in two:  Coordinator of Communications/Humanities and Coordinator of Science/Math.  But it's not just a splitting of 1 job.  Other full-time folks will be RIFed, and it's hard to know where those duties will be redistributed.

--It's also strange to interview with people who have been my supervisors for 5-7 years.  Happily, they've had no problems with me. 

--In many ways, it's the best kind of job interview to have.

--I keep wondering if years from now I will look back on these blogs and wonder why I didn't mention the Presidential race.  So let me just say that it seemed appropriate to be ending the day with Michelle Obama's speech, where she was essentially interviewing for a job she already has.

--She had a much better interview outfit than I did.

--Am I the only one who thinks of the Mary Tyler Moore show whenever I see Michelle Obama?  I mean that as a compliment.  The character of Mary Richards is one of my all-time favorite characters, from TV or movies or any narrative, actually.

--I loved the narratives that Michelle Obama included:  her father working hard to make sure her school payments weren't late, Barack's grandma working hard to support her family.

--I so, SO needed to be reminded that even when we have no evidence that we're changing the world for the better, we are, if that's what we're trying to do.  One of the things I miss most about teaching is that I was sure I was affecting lives for the better.  I've had department members assure me that I am doing similar things on a departmental level, but it's not the same visceral feeling that comes from teaching.

--If you want to read or hear the speech, go here.

--Here are some choice quotes from Michelle Obama's speech:

     --"You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves."

     --"We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make...that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself."

     --"And he [Barack] believes that when you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of do not slam it shut behind reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed."

     --"And he [Barack] reminds me that we are playing a long game here...and that change is hard, and change is slow, and it never happens all at once.

But eventually we get there, we always do.

We get there because of folks like my Dad...folks like Barack's and women who said to themselves, 'I may not have a chance to fulfill my dreams, but maybe my children will...maybe my grandchildren will.'

So many of us stand here tonight because of their sacrifice, and longing, and steadfast love...because time and again, they swallowed their fears and doubts and did what was hard.

So today, when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming – or even impossible – let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this's who we are as's how this country was built.

And if our parents and grandparents could toil and struggle for us...if they could raise beams of steel to the sky, send a man to the moon, and connect the world with the touch of a button...then surely we can keep on sacrificing and building for our own kids and grandkids."

     --"Because in the end, more than anything else, that is the story of this country – the story of unwavering hope grounded in unyielding struggle."

--It is good to remember that although political rhetoric can get very ugly, it can also be used for inspiration, for great good.  If I was teaching, I'd have my students analyze the speech both as political document, personal narrative, and history.  How successful was she?

--It would also be interesting to compare her speech to Ann Romney's.  That could lead to interesting compare and contrast essays.

--And it would be interesting to have students ponder what these candidate's wives say about us as a country.  What role does gender still play in our society?  And there's the intriguing race angle, the class angle.  Yes, lots could be done with these speeches.

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