Staring Because I Cannot Begin to Speak

stare down.

Otherwise not a violent person, I want to punch the three people two tables away.

They are teachers. They have been enjoying happy hour for the last 90 minutes, letting fly with all they are thinking about their schools, their classrooms, and their students.

What they think about learning and teaching is different – dramatically different – from what I think. They have mentioned “those kids”. They have talked about urban education in a way that makes my skin crawl. “A private school without private school prices,” one just said.

These are the moments I can’t turn away from. I stare in a state of vacillating anger, shock, and worry.

I’m not going to walk over and talk to these folks. It’s not that I always hold my tongue (Diana can attest to this). It’s that I don’t think I have it in me to listen as closely as I want to in this moment.

So I stare in the same way you might stare at a Dalí painting, wondering how you both saw the same world and clearly interpreted what you saw differently.

These are the things at which I stare, those that depart so sharply and swiftly from my own experiences and beliefs that I must hold my tongue as I attempt to weave what I am seeing an hearing into a useable framework.

Staring, for me, doesn’t mean I have nothing to say. It means I have more to say inspired more by emotion than thoughtfulness that I’ve got to pause and weave. It doesn’t always work. It won’t likely work today. This other table and I are going to have to agree to disagree at a distance.

Maybe the next time I stare, I’ll have the patience to speak.

This post is part of a daily conversation between Ben Wilkoff and me. Each day Ben and I post a question to each other and then respond to one another. You can follow the questions and respond via Twitter at #LifeWideLearning16.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *