I've been in Natalie Munroe's shoes more times than I can count. After putting up with endless bullshit from the youth of America, she finally cracked and let loose a spiel on her blog that has ended with her suspension. Her analysis of the youth of America is, in some ways, correct.
Yet her mistake was putting too much of the blame on the students and not enough where most of the problem truly lies...the parents. I suspect that's why she got in trouble. I'm willing to be that it wasn't a student that ratted her out but a parent who got called on their lazy bullshit and, rather than take responsibility for their child's horse shit attitude, turned to Munroe as a scapegoat. Until more parents take responsibility and actually fucking parent, this malaise is going to grow. Nikto wrote about his very problem recently and so have I. Can we all say Michael Jordan Generation?
After all, I can only do so much if they don't want to do their work. If they decide that they know they are going to make it as an athlete or recording artist and don't think they need a back up plan, there's only so much I can do. Remember, it's what they see as success defined, within the functionality of our society, that's the real problem. I'm going up against the onslaught of the images of corporate America which their parents buy into as well. Ms. Munroe and I are only one fifth of the primary agencies of socialization. As I will continue to say (probably forever), the mass media is the 400 pound gorilla in the room. They have smothered the other four agencies just like BP oil all over the Gulf.
The other side to all of this is Munroe's lack of reflection. This was also part of her undoing. Certain people become teachers for all the wrong reasons. They think they can connect with the youth of America but they really can't. They also don't have the thick skin that one needs (as I do) to let insults bounce right off and go into oblivion. I've had students hurl insult after insult at me and I just laugh. That just pisses them off even more. Clearly, Munroe couldn't handle this and part of me thinks that she lacked that coolnees with which kids can connect. The youth of today can smell "DORK" a mile away and woe be to anyone who has this built into their personality. This would also be where the lazy teacher rag that I sing quite often chimes in. If you aren't a very creative person to begin with and lack width of vision, you will not intrinsically motivate your students.
So, it was probably a combination of all of these things that caused this mini mushroom cloud in Pennsylvania. It's my hope that this incident acts as a catalyst for change. Kevin Baker is fond of saying, "Let's take off...nuke the site from orbit...it's the only way to be sure" when it comes to our education system. What he fails to see is that our education system is one small reflection in the extrinsically motivated cesspool that is our entire culture.
The reason why we are seeing more and more stories like Ms. Munroe's has to do with the giant flaw in the entire system. We have allowed the mass media to dictate our behavior and socialize our children as well as....everyone else. There are pockets of success here and there but you'll have to pardon my cynicism when I say that as long as we continue to function like this, President Obama's call for our country to out innovate the rest of the world will be pure folly.
In the final analysis, it's going to take a mass effort on the part of all of us to change the paradigm of how our culture operates. Parents, teachers, communities, and peer groups are going to have to regain control of socialization from the mass media. They need to take responsibility for themselves and actually dedicate their time to achieve this goal. It's going to take patience coupled with the willingness to manage complexities in order to shift the way our culture works.
Anyone out there think our ADD society can do it?