no edit 2018 Mirror Image Edutainment, Alan John Mayer
WRITER’S CAVEAT: This post has not been edited since it was written. I offer no apologies for misplaced or missing commas, or overuse of the words have, had, that, or exclamation points.
Now it seems after having been outed by the Catholic church, Cardinal Mahoney was traded off to the Los Angeles Unified School District, as is so often done with rotten apples. “We’ll take your rotten apple if you take ours,” is a prevalent concept in public institutions, education or otherwise. I knew their hiring practices were inadequate when I aided a horribly inadequate teacher, whom I later found out was arrested for child abuse. I could tell the first day I was assigned to work with the man, something about him was very wrong.
Without knowing anything about his past or his employment file, just being in his presence, I could have told them he was a bad apple. But that would have led to my being written up, perhaps released. I remember telling an administrator of a teacher with whom I worked, she drew circles on the blackboard and made little Obed stick his nose on it, and stand there for fifteen minutes. I also told him about the little girl in the same classroom who told me of nightmares in which this same teacher was chasing her. I was told to mind my own business.
This same teacher would stand in front of the class of third graders, and yell, “Buscame!” meaning, “look at me.”
What she was saying, without knowing it, was, “Look for me!” The kids were frightened, didn’t know what to do.
It was a blessing in disguise that the L.A.U.S.D. decided not to renew my contract, after I became active in the 1989 United Teachers Los Angeles’ teacher’s strike. That was an experience I’d rather remember only for the good parts — being framed, ostracized, and sent to spend time in the district office. It was this opportunity that got me started writing. I was given no tasks, and so I documented the waste I saw all around me.
This reprimand also provided me with the opportunity to accept a position at Glendale Community College, earning three-quarters of my previous income, teaching sixteen hours a week rather than forty-plus. It was the best job I ever held and for the first time ever, as a teacher, I was given the respect of a personal parking space with my name. That lasted until Mr. Shrub (Bush the smaller) decided it was time to cut back education. One of the last hired, I was also one of the first to be let go.
And our education system has been going further down the tubes since. I have taken it upon myself, as my mission, to spread the word how much money we need to spend to save ourselves, not with bombs and battleships, but with knowledge,
understanding, compassion, strength of mind rather than body, wisdom.
At the time, I know L.A.U.S.D. was only a stepping stone to bigger things. I never could imagine myself spending a lifetime in the employ of Mexicans who insisted on fighting for the right to restore the language their ancestors were forced to adapt to by their torturers and enslavers.
In addition, what a waste of time, paper, energy, common sense, to document everything in two languages — just for the few people who still speak English.
There is one life.
This life is God.
This life is perfect.
This life is my life now.
I know a curse is often a blessing in disguise.
It is as I believe. I open my mind to see the opportunities in every situation.
I accept this is so. I release right thought, right word, knowing all returns to me multiplied.
And so it is.