Sunday, March 2, 2008

locked in song

You want to see what we teach. No, that's not a question, so stop swooping up at the end of the sentence. You do want to see. You've been wondering the what and how ever since I told you I was teaching English in Taiwan. The following ends your wanting--yours and my students'. Neither could want to see anything more after seeing this, in or out of class. You'll be sorry you wondered. Just try to go home and forget about it. That's what my students do. But they can't. They can't shake the darn tune from their spongy brains. And neither can we. Who wants language skills bad enough to mimic this? Everyone. Even the teachers. We already speak English, but can't stop the songs built to teach it. They beat the insides of our skulls. A Saturday bike ride out in the country, finally away from the screaming children, away from the dry-erase board dust, away from the larger than microscopic spittle in which a kindergarten teacher showers everyday, and we still find it necessary to pull off the bike trail and disengage the kindergarten songs pounding at the walls of our brains. And yet, it's hopeless. Our efforts to molt the songs we wrap so tightly around us, like snake skin two sizes too small, serves only to constrict us further. Singing never solves the problem of singing. You'll only get better at it. If you want to kill the thing, leave the dead skin on. Suffocate the unwanted. But for kindergarten teachers, what's the point? You have to sing and dance the same gig everyday for the next 5 out of every 7, so why choke to death in the monster's grip Saturday and Sunday? Shake hands with the beast. And sing like an idiot whenever it comes knocking.


Rebecca said...

Joe! You looked like Forest Gump up there!! You guys are hilarious :)

amanda said...

random side note: craig jessop resigned this week as the director of the tabernacle choir. he didn't explain why, and didn't seem to give any warning. just thought i'd keep you up to date. thought you might find it interesting.