aquarius Archives - The Jose Vilson


The Dawning of the Age of an Aquarian

by Jose Vilson on December 27, 2007

AquariusI feel like I’m exposing myself a bit with what I’m about to post, but I’m a big believer in astrology. I don’t necessarily believe in all the astrologers out there with the light-up snow globes and gypsy-inspired wardrobe. However, I can’t help but believe that if the moon has such a strong influence on the bodies of water around the Earth, then as bodies of water, we too will inevitably be influenced by the moon, the stars, the planets around us, and yes, even the Earth’s environment. We’re all bodies of water, and the exact moment we’re born at can give us clues as to how we’ll behave. It sounds like hogwash on the surface, but my experience only tells me the opposite. Check what Wikipedia says about Aquarians like me:

The Aquarius person is unconventional, detached, intellectual, objective, individualistic, inventive, unique, easygoing, sophisticated, future-oriented, friendship-oriented, humanitarian, cause-oriented, believes in groups and society, playful, friendly, spontaneous, caring, devoted, trend setter, liberal, understanding, energetic, tolerant, benevolent, charming, patient, free-spirited, independent, open-minded, and progressive. They can also sometimes be unpredictable, dogmatic, cold, mean, over-permissive, aloof, rebellious, stubborn, eccentric, erotic, undependable, self-oriented, self-centered, unable to commit, judgmental, fickle and elitist

*** The ones in bold I definitely agree with, the ones that are underlined I’m trying to improve, and the ones in italic make me laugh (in a “that’s so not me” way). ***

I don’t look to horoscopes and the like to tell me how to live, but this is as accurate a description as I’d get about myself. Trying to understand oneself is paramount to becoming the best person one can be. I particularly started thinking about this after I read The Unapologetic Mexican’s post about Benazir Bhutto, and especially focused on the following:

PERHAPS the most obvious admission that a person can make stating that they are personally incapable of changing the world’s destiny with their own abilities and gifts and unique vision is to simply take the life of those who make it their mission to do so.

That coupled with the plethora of discussions I’ve had with my friends and family about everything from the Zeitgeist and Revelations to Iraq, 9/11, and 2012 really has me thinking about how my own actions affect the world around me. Because of how society’s structured and how minuscule we’ve been taught to perceive ourselves in contrast to time and space, I often think whether my actions even matter.

Then I realize, “Fuck yeah they do.”

As a person in progress, I think about how a small group of bankers could influence the whole world to make the American dollar into the world’s most popular currency, how only a couple of people writing things down on paper made for all the pervasive ideas of our day from religion and light theory to evolution and government, and how even a small amount of people sparked the rules of engagement for our own beliefs. Even if all the major people we’ve ever believed in like Malcolm X, Jesus, Gandhi, da Vinci, Darwin, Mother Teresa, or Bhutto had a huge collective of people behind them making sure their ideas gained traction in our minds, that was a small percentage compared to the many more who stayed at home, scared to take a risk or a chance on what would eventually change human civilization as they knew it.

Of course, that comes with its pitfalls. There are those who want to keep civilization the way it is. Most people are averse to change, even if they too will benefit. We’ve had “accidents” and assassinations abound, and these plans usually came to fruition with prior knowledge from that person. Yet, these influential people know they’re risking life and love for the benefit of humankind, knowing that their works at some point and time will inspire the next generation of thinkers and society shapers.

So every year, I sit at the precipice of another 365.25 days go by, and wonder whether what I’ve done has had the greatest impact on my world it could have. I’m still working on my personal issues (for more, check the italics above), but I know I wasn’t meant to sit idly by while everything around us goes to crap. Some of my friends believe that the Earth will eventually resolve everything on its own as it has over the last 4.5 or so billion years, but that goes back to the idea of complacency: is our sitting down and letting things happen part of the solution or the problem? What do we contribute if we think we’re so small we can’t do anything?

Or do we? Even for my educators, what do we do besides our jobs? Are we doing anything while we’re doing our jobs to make our children feel like they’re more than destined for the proletariat? I’m not sure, but while we’re about 150 years away from the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, this Aquarian’s dawning will come sooner than that.

jose, who only writes long entries when he believes in it, and he believes in this one …

p.s. – I love that “Sweetest Girl (Remix)” with Wyclef, Akon, Lil’ Wayne, Raekwon, and Niia. I thought the original was OK, but not good enough to download. This song reminds me of the mid-90′s. Yep.


The Mamas and the Papas

by Jose Vilson on November 20, 2007

mrvking.jpgI was eating dinner at a fine Irish establishment at Washington Heights in the middle of the parent-teacher conferences at my school when someone mentioned the eclectic mix of music above us. Somewhere between Tom Jones’ “Pussycat” and my Irish nachos, I thought: “Well, as long as they don’t play ‘Age of Aquarius,’ there might be a sense of normalcy in this predominantly Dominican neighborhood.”

“This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, the age of Aquarius, Aquarius! Aquarius!”

And that’s pretty much how my day went. I expected to have the most parents percentage-wise (I usually do, hence why it’s my time to shine), and I had a set script for every kid, bringing out my Excel grading book to show that 1) I’m ready and willing to show both parent and child that there’s no way around me and 2) that in case they wanted to play the politics game I was ready for them. However, I wasn’t hostile, and most of the parents were awesome.

Here’s my script, mostly unscripted, but the skeleton usually looks like this:

  1. Introduce them and give them “warm” feedback i.e. give them a sense that there’s work being done and that the child’s not hopeless.
  2. Give them “cold” feedback i.e. what they can improve on in the future, further addressing how honest and forthcoming I’ve been to them and their parent about their progress.
  3. Always end with a positive outlook, and a definite goal numerically and specifically targeting one of the 6 sections of the grade.

Of course, I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, so even in 2 languages, it still got old really early. However, I did have a few exceptions.

I had the parent who honestly looks like she’s heard it all about her child, and it hurts to see. I didn’t know where to start because we already had the conversation about her child last week, that after me and my ELA co-teacher had a meeting with the child about how best to address his needs. We asked him to re-evaluate what he thinks about himself, and how we as teachers could help him get to where he needs to. That’s still pending.

I had the parent who had “no idea” how their child failed, especially after the conversation we had a month ago. If you asked me a month ago whether the child would turn in their journal, I would have said yes. A week after that conversation, she didn’t, so she barely passes. It’s unfortunate because she’s a sweet kid, but sweet won’t cut it into high school, college, etc …

I had the parent who needed reaffirmation for her child, so I gave her the whole “She can’t just be the cute little model. She needs to continue until she gets to high school, college, etc. until she becomes a strong and independent woman where she doesn’t need a man, and that’s where I want to see her go.”

I had the parent who has a reputation with one of the teachers already, for disciplining his child … hard. I was scared because really I think the child’s awesome, and she’s one of a kind, but that’s not enough. Lately, she’s been stuck in the wrong crowd, and because of that mix-up, she’s become more defiant, even when we’re looking out for her best interest. The tears flowed down the child’s face while the father implicitly told me about how angry he gets. She got a pretty good grade in my class, but I know that won’t be good enough for her father.

I had the parent who let her child tell her that she didn’t need to see any more parents, so they ran away from me. Little did they know my Rockports have good traction, and I spoke to the parent about her.

I had the parent who made me realize why her boy’s so whiny. The apple does not fall far from the tree.

I had the parents who I had to use both English (to the father) and Spanish (to the mother) simultaneously, teling her how their child needs to do much better than they’re doing and has the unlimited potential for that. What was more amazing is that one of my graduates from last year, who also failed her first marking period, is getting 90s in math in high school. I was able to tell all of them how even with the lack of success she had in my class, the skills she gets from her 8th grade teachers prepare them for high school, and every graduate from my class that came back to visit can attest to that, and the graduate definitely agreed.

I had the parent of a child who didn’t do very well. She actually sat me down and forgot that I’m a professional. To wit, she actually told me to sit down and gave me directives as to how best to teach her child. Of course, I CYA’d, and said, “OK, let’s do whatever it is we need to do.” She told me to sit her child in the front, told me not to let her go to the bathroom, told me to pick on her more often, told me to let her take her journal, and told me to call her. Will do tomorrow, already doing, have been since Mr. V knows when, already doing, and have done a couple of times with logs on all of this.

I had 55 parents in total, and it was non-stop discussion. I do my best to rotate them in and out, and it relieves the heck out of me when I don’t have to make that many phone calls to parents for at least another 2-3 weeks. Aquarius, signing off …

“Harmony and understanding
Sympathy and trust abounding
No more falsehoods or derisions
Golding living dreams of visions
Mystic crystal revalation
And the mind’s true liberation

jose, who sees the dawning of the age of aquarius …