Oasis in Concert

Paint No Illusion, Try To Click With Whatcha Got

Jose Vilson Jose 4 Comments

Oasis in Concert

First, if I haven’t thanked each and every one of you for your feedback to the blog, let me thank you once more. It’s been a tough couple of weeks personally, and even when the New Yorker in me tells me otherwise, I appreciate the random kindness and words of encouragement from semi-complete strangers. As the school year winds down, the staff can see the shore, but hasn’t fully avoided the inclement weather, beating upon the ship and rattling the passengers. Lightning and thunder have struck at times when we thought we’d see a little sun on this 180-day voyage.

I’ve helped with everything from summer school matriculation to Regents exams, and I love taking on those challenges and learning about the daily operations of the school. However, the experience continues to elucidate the complexities and inadequacies of this system. It’s enough where I more readily express my frustration with the ridiculousness, openly questioning whether the policies instilled actually help students succeed. I’m quicker to curse, and less likely to listen to policy wonking than normal. My patience has run thin, and having to explain to parents and students the policies on promotion or how we as a school could better address integrating technology into the school only exacerbates these feelings.

In other words, it’s time for summer to arrive.

In this time, the best gift anyone can give someone in such dire straits is solution-oriented peace. Just last week, I expressed some issues I had with my job about something harmless turning into an overrated soap opera. I walked away from the situation, but I let the incident brew in my mind for a bit, an Aquarius trait I’m not happy I inherited. I then vented to my ladyfriend about the situation, and she put it in good perspective. She said, “The thing is to not take it personal at this point. It’s high stress time and whatever the point of view, it may not be about you.”

Wow.

I was still bitter in conversation with her but I brought it up again a few days later and said “Thanks.” My bout of myopia made me selfish about the hurt I felt about the situation. Sometimes, even when you’ve tried to remedy your wrongs, the other person isn’t in a place to forgive, and vice versa. Taking things personally on my end meant that I failed to see that. If I put myself in the other person’s shoes, I might see things differently, regardless of who was right or wrong. Plus, with the shore plainly in sight, this crew member can’t fail in his duties. That storm brewing isn’t going to stop itself. I don’t consider myself a hero by any means, but disengaging myself from the school’s mission could be costly at a time when most of us tire from the trip.

I’m just hoping when we pull up ashore on Monday, because I’m tired as hell from rowing …

Mr. Vilson, who’s learning that lesson in life as a whole …

About Jose Vilson

José Luis Vilson is a math educator, blogger, speaker, and activist. For more of my writing, buy my book This Is Not A Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, on sale now.

Comments 4

  1. msladydeborah

    I started reading your blog because I could relate to the level of interest and frustration that you express about teaching. To me it is a profession that can be quite rewarding if you can work through or around all of the crap that often gets dumped on it by administrators and lawmakers.

    I like the fact that you are passionate about what you do. I feel that is ultimately important because that is what fuels the drive to produce for the children who spend time with you. It is not difficult to identify your moments of vulnerability as a person. A lot of male teachers would not let that side of their personality be exposed.

    I’ve learned a lot about the NYC system. I’ve read some really great articles that you’ve shared. I hope that you have a good break because you have earned time out from the grind.

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  2. Sarah

    Dear Mr. Vilson,
    First, I would like to say thank you. As a pre-service teacher who has been working for nine years and three months to become an educator, I appreciate and am encouraged by your blog. Your blog helps to re-inspire me on the days I think I should have stuck with waitressing. When I get bogged down with the nonsense from the naysayers and I myself run out of patience with the “young ones” in my graduating class, I think of what my first mentor, Dr. Venus Evans-Winters once said, “Lift as you climb.” and Dr. King, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” For me, education is a profession that embodies the labor he spoke of. I am so glad to have the opportunity to laugh and learn and say an amen or two when my cup of frustration runneth over as well…Thank you for being an inspiration and a mentor-whether you know it or not, you make a difference in my life-personally and professionally.

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    Jose

    Sarah, I’m familiar with Dr. Evans-Winters. Happy to hear that you’re of the belief that we lift as we climb. Crucial and paramount to all of our successes.

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