Temporary exile

Havdalah on the Balcony

Thanks to me seriously excellent parents, I was able to make Havdalah for the first time in over a month. It was awesome in so very many different ways. I can now move on with some piece of mind.

So the really good news that I didn’t get to share before Shabbos began was that I have a rather restful week ahead of me. My professors (in thier seemingly infinite wisdom) have declared an amnesty week for the purposes of making sure that people do not lose their minds. Instead of a paper on a new book, we have a three paragraph response to a book we already read due by seminar on Friday. This might not sound like a big deal but the other people in my program are starting to lose it due to the overwhelming amount of work. It is getting harder and harder to complete all the reading and then muck about with the writing in order to get everything in on time. Also, class has been canceled on monday afternoon and wednesday morning.

It has been doubly hard for me to get all this done as the program assumes that every student has seven working days a week. On a normal week, I would have only six. Then there is the fact that I have not had a full week of class since the first week as a result of Jewish holidays. Furthermore, I will not have a full week until next week after the conclusion of Shmini Atzeres and Simkhas Torah. It has been super difficult to tackle all of the things that need tackling.

The other thing that is contributing to my current frustrations is the fact that there is such a large discrimination component that is overwhelmingly centered on race. Of the ten or so books that our program has been assigned to read, only 3 of them have dealt directly with education or schooling. The rest have been about discrimination based on class, gender or, as mentioned before, race. The argument that it is important for teachers to know all of this is a relevant one. The problem is that issues like dealing with kids with a different sexual orientation or religion are not covered along with things like immigrant children or the mainstreamed mentally ill. Race is a dominating factor and, while important, it is rapidly becoming off topic in a program entitled “So, you want to be a teacher?”.

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