Archive for August, 2008

Joel Meader

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

you introduced yourself with this:
“Will we do a lot of debating in this class?
I love debating.”

that request has stuck with me
like the odor that clings to a smoker’s clothes–
sour and deep

you seemed sincere at the time
(a 7th grader interested in debate? why not?)
though you may have been testing me, the new teacher

I can’t remember what immediate response I gave
probably a nod or a condescending “We’ll see”

unfortunately for you
I had no experience with debate
and no training in rhetoric and logic
(I don’t actually know what I had training in)

so there were no debates in my classroom
even lively discussions were hard to come by

I don’t remember much else about you that year
other than you showed little interest in my class

what happened to you is what happened
to many of my students–
you were sucked into the black hole of busy work
and seldom encouraged to think for yourself
seldom “excited into self activity”

but what if I had taken you up on your request
and what if I had made you think

would that have been the start
of Joel Meader, the lively skeptic,
Joel Meader, curious and confident
citizen of the world?

I’ll never know (more…)