Letter to My Students – Seventh Letter in a Series (Flag Day, June 14, 2021)
First, as always and since July 3, 1989 – I love you. You mean a lot to me. One of the cool things about being a high school music teacher? More often than not … MUCH MORE OFTEN (sorry – NOT sorry – for the poor grammar; I am a music teacher, not an English teacher & writing is a hobby for me, like golf – both hobbies humble me 😊) … the students who are in my music classes choose to be there. So, any human being who chooses to be with me is a BLESSING / a gift / and I am honored! One more time… and not the last time … I love you.
My thought for my students today is: please … block the idea that the outside of you or anyone is THE best side of you and the most important side of you! BLOCK THAT CRAP!
What is the best side or really … could be the most important side … YOUR HEART!! Guard your heart!
Remember, these “letters” I write to you (my students and others) are letters I can only share outside of the public-school classroom in California. Appreciate you reading it. Means – you want to know more about my thoughts. THANK YOU!
Begin with the end in mind is one of my very favorite Stephen Covey Habits. If you haven’t read or purchased SEVEN HABITS FOR HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE, go TODAY and buy a copy of it! I bought the book in 1992!!
To summarize the habit: you have been invited to a funeral. You recognize many people. You have been escorted to the front for a special seat and you discover it is your funeral. You have three people who will deliver eulogies on your behalf. Who will they be? And… what do you WANT them to say about you. Not, what will they say about you. Important distinction.
Moral of the story: if you want people to say nice things about you, then do nice things. If you WANT people to say bad things about you, then do bad things. Pretty simple and as usual – difficult to execute.
Your teachers / staff / district employees & administrators / school board members should ask (daily / weekly / monthly / annually), in the end, when the child walks across the stage and is handed his / her diploma, what do want that child to be?
My students – there is a legitimate fight for: when you graduated from high school, what do we (adults) want you to be. You (students and YES… YOUR PARENTS) need to study this fight. This battle. This war! YOU DO! It is your education.
Yes. I have chosen a side. NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT SIDE TO CHOOSE!!!!!!
Here is my side…
I side with the founding principles / documents of our nation. For over 245 years, we have seen a nation go from slavery / women unequal rights and more to, a nation that abolished slavery / has equal rights / more woman with four-year degrees than men. With the current the system, I know we have enjoyed much success and growth. With the “new-improved” system, who knows what is going to happen?
I hope you (my students) will side with what you know and continue to grow through what you know.
There are “educators” who want to destroy / end the current system and replace it with a “better” system. One close to socialism or for the extreme-left, communism. Yet, we know, or I thought we knew those systems have led to the destruction of people! I wonder why teachers do not teach how capitalism is really the best of the worst systems available. How come teachers are not teaching “mankind is evil. Sinful. And therefore, knowing that, every system is flawed and, just so happens the one system that has led to such creativity as PRINGLES / ELECTRIC CARS / TV DINNERS / for gosh sake, THE TELEVISION(!) is capitalism is now deemed “evil.” https://www.city-journal.org/california-ethnic-studies-programs-merchants-of-revolution
Let me give you an example of how socialism or socialist principals can lead to laziness / to “the end.” First here is one definition of “Socialism” Socialism, social and economic doctrine that calls for public rather than private ownership or control of property and natural resources. According to the socialist view, individuals do not live or work in isolation but live in cooperation with one another. Furthermore, everything that people produce is in some sense a social product, and everyone who contributes to the production of a good is entitled to a share in it. Society as a whole, therefore, should own or at least control property for the benefit of all its members. https://www.britannica.com/topic/socialism
Just out of curiosity / reflection – when was it the last time a history teacher had a debate of socialism vs. capitalism? When was it the last time you (my student / any student) saw a definition of socialism that made ya go, “That’s cool … no more private owner ship? I don’t get to own my property? Wow!! That sounds fantastic!” When was it the last time a history teacher flat out told you, “Socialism and communism has led to the destruction of millions of people. Many of those people, their own citizens?”
There are more people getting unemployment benefits than there are unemployed workers! If that continues, what does the “end” look like? What is the end goal? https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/16/there-are-more-people-getting-unemployment-benefits-than-there-are-unemployed-workers.html
Look at the total unfilled job vacancies for the United States. If that continues, what does the “end” look like? What is the end goal? https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/LMJVTTUVUSQ647S
There are now more jobs available than before than pandemic. So why aren’t people signing up? If that continues, what does the “end” look like? What is the end goal?
To show that when people are offered an opportunity to not have their grade lowered or not have a makeup assignment given for a missed assignment / performance, the students will (like their adults) choose not to attend, I don’t have to look outside my band room.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Currently, I have twenty-seven students in the band. The RESPONSE to COVID19 has hurt our program. We were steadily growing (2017 – 42 students; 2018 – 51 students; 2019 – 62 students; Fall 2020 – 63 students / Spring 2020 – 27 students).
Out-of-the-27 students, eight of them were consistently on ZOOM and 19 of them were in the band room attending class.
I thought, “Hey, we know many of ya are behind in your ability to play the band music. Please. On May 20th, attend an Open Rehearsal. No stress. Make all the mistakes ya want. I just want to get us back together on the stage in the theater.”
Well, if I wanted to get all 27 students to attend the Open Rehearsal, I was wrong. I made a mistake!
I allowed the students and their parents to CHOOSE to attend the Open Rehearsal. If ya (the student) were there, ya didn’t get any extras. Just the enjoyment of making music. In band, that is what we do. We make music. If ya (the student) didn’t attend the Open Rehearsal, no negative consequence – no makeup work / no lowering grade.
So, instead of 27 happy band students attending an open rehearsal on the stage / in the theater, those eight ZOOM students did not attend, and one-in-the-band-room-student did not want to go (according to one student).
I asked my colleagues in the district, “how was your attendance for your end of the year performances?”
My response, “How did you get such a fantastic response?”
My colleagues’ response? “Well, I told my students if you don’t attend here is the makeup work (which was intense) and if you don’t do the makeup work, your grade would be lowered. All but two showed up.”
WOW! Consequences? No work = lowered grade or even – “intense” makeup work?
Gee. Now, me … (following written with a sarcastic tone) the loving / conservative / hard driving / some would say “mean” Christian white 55 year-old man decided to take the path of compassion / understanding / being sensitive / woke! What did it get me? 18 students on a stage (BY THE WAY – THE EIGHTEEN STUDENTS DID A GREAT JOB. COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE HAPPY FOR THEM / WITH THEM) and nine students at home realizing, their choice got them a “free” grade. Their choice of not doing the work did not penalize them. Bad lesson from me – it is a “bad lesson” if I want to teach what respect / responsibility / discipline / integrity / faith is. Still feel like crap for making that decision! I will get over it! Don’t need to send me any cards or gifts (giggle).
Huh… What I describe seems to be a similar scenario to what the federal and many state governments are doing. You don’t have a job? You don’t want to work? No worries. Here is some money for ya. Enjoy your happiness. (You do see there are plenty of jobs available)
Begin with the end in mind. If we continue to “baby” you (my students), your nation is going to be like every other nation that has chosen the path of least resistance. You are going to have folks who have chosen to sit on their rear ends, not work, and live off the government.
Work is an important principle in our nation. I want you (my students) to enjoy what it feels like to earn a paycheck. How work pays off. Why it feels better to be independent, even interdependent than it does to live off OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY!
My students: FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO BE COMPETENT IN A CAPITALISTIC SOCIETY!
- “Why is it important for us to know who the oppressor and oppressed are?”
- “How come only one race or one gender are usually the oppressors, and the other races and genders are not?”
- “Cannot all human beings become oppressors because they have accrued the power to be the oppressors?”
- “How is making ‘equity’ more important than ‘equality’ going to help me (the student) succeed? Our nation succeed?”
My students: BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND. I told you that every day this school year! See what socialism and communism has done TO people, not for people.
STUDY. STUDY. STUDY. READ. READ. READ. Question. Question. Question! Critical Race Theory’s end is a destroyed or “fundamentally changed” United States of America, and a destroyed or (clearing throat) “fundamentally changed” United States of America is not good for you or the world.
Don’t think so? Then … study / read / ask more questions!
- Videos of parents / teachers standing UP against Critical Race Theory: