Monday, April 11, 2011

Viva Las Zeppelin

So, if you're wondering why I fell off the grid this weekend, this is why. Recently (as referenced previously), I completed the PACT, an extremely big deal teacher assessment that determines my fate as a teacher forever. The Abigail was incredibly supportive throughout this process. Friday, however, was her crowning achievement. I rushed home, believing that I was going to take the Abigail to a doctor's appointment (since the untimely death of her car, we've had to do that a lot). Almost as soon as I arrived, the Abigail gave me this:

Once upon a time there was a young wizard. And this young wizard wanted very badly to teach children how to be wizards too. He knew that very often, the children of the gnomes, the dwarves and other unpopular races weren’t taught how to use magic very well, or sometimes not at all. He was passionate about making sure that everyone got to learn magic. 
The young wizard spent nearly two years teaching children how to use magic. He inspired them daily with the wonder of it. But perhaps the most important wonder of all was how much the young wizard loved the children he taught. Whether they were humans, gnomes, or even elves, the magic of the young wizard’s love made them greater than they had been before.
But one day the young wizard was confronted by an old, grouchy wizard.

“What are you doing teaching those children? You don’t have a permit!” said the old wizard. The old wizard went on to tell him that he thought there should be a law against wizards without permits teaching magic to children. 
The young wizard had known that a permit was required, but such was his passion and his love that he had not cared. He wanted to teach right now. But he understood that people like the old wizard cared about things like permits, and that it might someday affect his ability to teach magic to children. So, he decided to get a permit. 
The young wizard spent months trying to get his permit. It was an absurd process. He was forced to demonstrate how he could use his magic to jump through a series of flaming hoops in the sky. 
“What does this have to do with teaching magic to children?” asked the young wizard. 
“You’ll understand when you’re older,” the old wizard replied.
Next, the young wizard had to write in great detail about how he had jumped through these hoops. He had to cite his sources in enormous, yellowing books of ancient magic theory that had nothing to do with what he was teaching the children.

“What does this have to do with teaching magic to children?” asked the young wizard.

“Be quiet if you want to pass the test,” the old wizard replied.

Finally, the young wizard had to teach the children how to do a special magic task, determining what was inside a chicken with their powers. Then, he showed the other wizards how he did it.

“But I’ve been doing this for two years!” the young wizard complained.

“They shouldn’t let young wizards teach until they know how to write about it!” the old wizard replied.

Finally, after months and months of work, the young wizard sent his work off to be graded by the magic examiners. And he was able to rest.

But now the young wizard was tired. He had no energy to teach the children anymore. While he still loved them very much, his passion was diminished by his difficult, absurd task. The young wizard was afraid that the magic of his love was weakened by his exhaustion, and by all the magic he had used to jump through those burning hoops.

Now, the young wizard had a wife, who was also very wise. His wife knew a different kind of magic. She saw that the young wizard was suffering, and she knew what she had to do. While the young wizard was at work, his wife prepared a special spell. One day when he came home, she was ready.

“I’ve packed you a bag,” she told him. “Make sure I have all the right robes and supplies. We’re flying away tonight, in about half an hour. We’ll be back in plenty of time for you to teach your children on Monday.”

And the young wizard fed his pet dragon, packed his books and papers, and prepared for his mysterious journey. 
When the young wizard and his wife were preparing to fly away, the young wizard asked his wife again: “Where are we going?” 
Then she smiled. “We’re going to a magic land where no matter what you do, nobody but but me will ever find out. We’re going to the magic land of Vegas.”

So, that's where I was this weekend. There was no doctor's appointment; there was, however, a supershuttle. And tickets. To Vegas.

The Abigail is the best wife ever.


christian said...

Kudos for having the willingness in order to sacrifice income and status in order to lead and inspire students. Teaching is all but vilified in the modern era, but it's still a noble pursuit, despite what the pundits say.

Mark said...

Damned straight. Forget the pundits. But don't let the downers get to you - this is the best job in the world, and I wouldn't trade "up" for all the money in the world.

Ok, I'm posting this from my worst class. So maybe it takes a little aggressive self-delusion, too. I'm at peace with that.