After two nights of late performances with my Scots-Irish band, Angus Dubhghall, I am a little on the tired side. High school midterm exams are only a week away, the Bastrop Rams won the football state championship, I’m developing my annual sinus infection, I’m behind on all my writing projects (except my poetry project), I’ve got to push my gifted and honor students through a writing contest that was dumped on us at the last minute. They have to complete an original poem, a short story, and an essay by Friday.
Our school is using a Smart Filter. Well, the restrictions have tightened up, so that basically I’m feeling my computer is almost worthless. Won’t allow me to check my writer friends’ blogs (great sources of information for gifted kids) song lyrics, nor a thousand other sites I used to go to for quick information. It’s censorship by robot. If you try to figure out the logic of this technical system and the administrators behind it, you will go mad. Machine dictated and controlled information—though I admit people must be behind it somewhere. Whoever they are, they certainly aren’t English teachers. It seems that the infamous e-rate regulations are behind it, tied to the Child Protection Act. Evidently if we don’t use this austere system, we lose needed funds paying for our Internet. Of course, other than using it for IEP’s and lesson plans, and limited research, there’s not much Internet left. For research, books are better anyway, but then our library would have to get more books. Makes me wish we weren’t so dependent on the government.
It’s ironic: Every year I teach my kids Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a novel that addresses the issue (along with many other themes) of censorship. So I teach that novel, and what do we do? Impose strict censorship. Another irony: At the same time they virtually shut down our computers, teachers were given demanding K-12 Educational Technology Standards. So, we are to do more with less. And the same government that created our present military mess is trying to teach/make teachers to be “good.”
After saying all of this, I guess you could say I’m somewhat agitated.
MOVIE QUOTE OF THE DAY: from Cold Mountain.
Ada: Will you turn your back?
Inman: No, No, I will not.