Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Failure at the Forum

Yesterday I failed. Yes, I failed the PFLAG BOE Candidate Forum because I could not make it to the end. After an hour and forty five minutes of sitting I had the overwhelming urge to make my departure quietly so that I didn’t completely lose it and run from the room screaming.

I don’t sit well. I hadn’t thought much about it until recently, but almost every single job I have had in my professional life has involved moving around or provided frequent breaks with varying activities. As I have become more conscious about this in myself, I have started applying various strategies to get through long stretches of sitting. Therapy putty. Crocheting. Colored pens for doodling. The carefully chosen moment for a bathroom break.

I’m an adult and I get to choose a lot about how my life goes. Imagine students whose days are proscribed for them by a routine that depends on “the delivery of content” in a physically passive setting. All. Day. Long. I realize now that I daydreamed and doodled a lot in school as a way of ”making it through.” My favorite activities were ones that were multi-sensory: music where we marched or played rhythm instruments, the student teacher who taught us to make butter, the fifth grade assignment to write our own skits based on mythology.

I have no criticism of the forum. The students who ran it were wonderful. The questions were brilliant and to the point. The candidates were doing their candidate thing, like you do, at your eight millionth forum, only now during early voting. It just made me think about all the different ways we could present candidate forums, if we looked at presenting information to adults the way the best teachers create lessons for kids.

Surely I can’t be the only voter in Howard County who needs differentiated instruction.

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