Friday, April 17, 2009
Lately I have been completely uninspired when it comes to writing about education. Everywhere I turned it seemed the arguments were the same, the problems were worse, the budgets were slashed, the kids just pawns. Sometimes it is hard not to feel that it is all pointless. Then this morning I watched this video. Wow. Here, in just a few minutes and coming from another country, was everything that is wrong and right with humanity all at the same time. Susan Boyle is an unemployed 47 year old woman who has "never been kissed." The audience and the judges make fun of her and judge her on her appearance and ridicule her dream, just as we all do at some level when we first see her. Then she opens her mouth to sing and the world is turned upside-down instantly. She sings like an angel! What an amazing talent! And that is entirely the point. This woman, who from the outside ostensibly has "nothing" going for her is in fact incredibly gifted. How many Susan Boyle's are there in the world? How many are there at your school, in your classroom, at your work, in your neighborhood? We are surrounded every day by people with hidden gifts and talents, with inner beauty that we cannot see, with quirks and idiosyncracies which we denouce. For me Susan Boyle represents the fact that it doesn't matter where you came from, what you look like, what your IQ is or how rich your parents are, or whether you are gay or straight or asexual, or educated or a drop-out, every human being has value, and it is our job as educators and simply as human beings to recognize it. This is the fact that gets lost in our educational system. It doesn't matter who you are or where you started from, what matters is that you are treated with dignity and given an opportunity. This is what we must all pledge ourselves to every day.