I am an old school teacher, taught by old school teachers. Teacher who has us read John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath. My Old School English Teacher Mrs. Stansfield said this book is banned in many places. Banned because some say it has offensive language. There is not one word of profanity in it, but truth rings loud on every page. We shall read it together, and then watch the old black and white movie as well, cause Henry Fonda voice gives life to the life of Steinbeck's Tom Joad at the very end. We shall read it not because it is on the approved curriculum. We shall read it, because it offers America Hope. 50 years later I can still hear Ms. Stansfield read it, still see her cry when Henry Fonda gives voice to Tom Joad at the end.
It is not just the inequality that is hurting Black and Brown children today, it is the silencing of the voices of old school teachers with test driven mandates. I can hear that old school teacher reading:
“You don’t aim to kill nobody, Tom?”
“No. I been thinkin’, long as I’m a outlaw anyways, maybe I could — Hell, I ain’t thought it out clear, Ma. Don’ worry me now. Don’ worry me.”
They sat silent in the coal-black cave of vines. Ma said, “How’m I gonna know ’bout you? They might kill ya an’ I wouldn’ know. They might hurt ya. How’m I gonna know?”
Tom laughed uneasily, “Well, maybe like Casy says, a fella ain’t got a soul of his own, but on’y a piece of a big one — an’ then —”
“Then what, Tom?”
“Then it don’ matter. Then I’ll be all aroun’ in the dark. I’ll be ever’where — wherever you look. Wherever they’s a fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever they’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. If Casy knowed, why, I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad an’ — I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they raise an’ live in the houses they build — why, I’ll be there. See? God, I’m talkin’ like Casy. Comes of thinkin’ about him so much. Seems like I can see him sometimes.”
Until the pie is made healthy and good for all, I will be here every night, and you will find me fighting the good fight every chance I get outside my schoolhouse door. I am an old school teacher to the end.
My teaching heart is breaking, but not my teaching spirit,
|I shall be an old school teacher to the end
If you like to listen to the song that inspired my morning walk this morning. It's Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello performing "The ghost of Tom Joad" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9f-F1CAB24