Measuring Education

by beccaborrelli


“While you and I have lips and voices which
are for kissing and to sing with
who cares if some oneyed son of a bitch
invents an instrument to measure Spring with?” 

~ ee cummings

***

I went to MedMob Austin for Earth Day… a meditation flash mob if you will. This month’s mob was at the Earth Day Festival. After an hour of silence, the group moved into a circle for an OM. As the last chant quieted I opened my eyes. There on my outstretched palm was a spider. She walked out onto a silken thread attached to the tip of my finger. I watched as she daintily floated across the thread like a miniature tight rope walker… walking… walking…

Until she landed on the outstretched index finger of my neighbor. His eyes were closed… his hands on his knees…

None the more aware that an invisible connection between us had just been bridged.

***

Leaving the art building today, I passed a young man while riding my bike.

He cut me off in his motorized wheelchair. His chin was up, his head turned unnaturally to one side, elbows jutted outwards, one hand on a lever, the other curled up under his head. His legs were were short and bent, his feet dangling. As I passed him we locked eyes for a moment… his eyes were sharp and intelligent. As I got closer I saw they revealed more than intelligence…

Frustration.

As I pulled up to a red light, a thought seemed to come from somewhere outside of me… a thought I didn’t hear in my brain, but almost in my ears:

Why should he have to suffer such a burden, and I do not?

***

I returned a few weeks ago from Antigua, Guatemala. We were there for many reasons, and one of the (smaller) reasons was to make art with children at a local community cultural center. I worked with a friend and colleague to plan art for them. I was nervous… one of my first art classes in two years would be without a common spoken language.

As I sat in the middle of the room that day– a golden sun poured through windows and reflected off glitter on Jennifer’s shirt– an 8 year old with a shy smile who taught me how to say the names of animals in Spanish. The sparkles from her shirt danced around the room animating the moment. I watched as children and adults “spoke” with their eyes, laughed, pointed with fingers, and nodded with heads.

The conversation was more rich than I ever expected.

[“tortuga” means “turtle”]

***

Tonight I came home to catch up on media.

Talking pineapple in NYC…Behind the Standardized Test Curtain, and Who is responsible? on Twitter

Multiple Choice Assessments… Education is the key to a healthy economy…  and Teacher of the Year… in Google reader

I want to be relevant, educated and aware of current events. I think I can speak in an educated way on many topics. I think I have something to give to the conversation. I plunged back into writing this week, and ran into this weird ambivalence to what are supposed to be important things going on right now.

Not because they’re not important (because they are,)

and not because I’m not interested (because I am),

and not because I don’t care (because I do.)

But because sometimes it all just seems like measuring Spring.

Advertisements