Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I want to teach in the Failure Program

The school I teach for now, like all the schools I've taught for, has a boatload of "Student Success Programs." Clever pedagogical experiments designed to prepare students to succeed, to lead, to excel.

I wish them luck, but I don't want to work for them.

I want to teach in the Failure Program. I want to look students in the eye, and say, listen, competitive systems, they have losers. I'm glad that you are all planning on being winners, I am, but you do realize there is a good chance that, well, that won't work out for all of you? Statistics, you know...

I've tried compassion. I've tried saying, well yes, but what about those losers, over there, shouldn't we be nice to them? Compassion doesn't work. The other always deserves what she gets.

I tiptoe around my relatively moderate anti-property authors. I preface everything with, "well, this author says." I suggest, mildly, that maybe there might be some trade off between community good and individual riches. They shake their heads. They look confused. I am not preparing them to succeed. Haven't I heard? They are all going to be rich. Why trade that for some lousy public good? Don't I know? "Public," means "crappy," like "public school," "public housing," or "public park." Why mingle with the riffraff?

I want to shake them. I want to shout, "Listen!!!!!" and then whisper, "you're dying." We all lose to death in the end, children, compassion is self interest. What you would visit on the least among you will be visited upon you, soon enough.