Fuck Pedagogy: My Life in School

My autobiographical writing on teaching practices, Fuck Pedagogy, has been a challenge to because a clear through-line is needed for the reader to follow along. The point of the book is to emphasize teaching with knowledge of content and engagement with students. The following bits didn’t make the cut: I fell from the jungle gym and my Kindergarten teacher split her head open on the same bars when she came running to help me. She was young and beautiful and they took her away in an ambulance. She never came back. An old bitter woman took her place.

I found a stack of old Playboy magazines down the block from school and was crazily delighted by that. I couldn’t look inside, fearful of the nude women I might find, and instead shoved them all into a post box, thinking the postman would like that. Principal Fair told me what I had done was a crime and made me promise to never do it again.

I skipped Grade Three. I didn’t understand why, but they told me to get my things and move to the next room. And there I was, suddenly in Grade Four, taking a spelling quiz along with all of the other Grade Four students. It all seemed fine until I couldn’t spell the word “sheep”. I think I put an ‘a’ in there somewhere. Anyway, that was the end of that. I was solemnly walked back down the hall and returned to Grade Three. It’s an experience that has confused me to this day.

Zina & the Playboy Under My Pillow

Zina was our cleaning lady throughout my childhood and teenage years. She was from a Portugal and had a family to which my mother gave hand-me-downs and other extra and leftover things. She was kind and caring, and I am sure that I was a jerk to her.

I came home one day to find my bed changed and nicely made, as Zina always did, and then suddenly realized that I had left a Playboy magazine under the pillow. I figured that Zina would have thrown it out and probably told my mother, and removed the pillow to find it still there, neatly replaced.

And of course Zina never said anything to me about it.

Zina was also the only person I remember crying at my father’s funeral. She wrapped her arms around me and sobbed. Nobody else did that. We were a stoic family and didn’t do such things.

Bouncing and Rolling Like A Kid

After 1,100 posts – and watching The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling – I have come to realize that for this blog to mean anything, it should be more personal and real. And so we’ll see how that goes…

There was no greater pleasure as a kid than to lie on my side in bed, my left side, my arm bottom bent a little out, my top arm flopped forward, and roll to music. My brother did it too, the record player between us. A favorite was The Beatles. I liked the Blue album; he liked the Red. It was a simple act, rolling back and forth on my side. It was comforting and helped me drift into the music.We bounced too, the three of us, my brother, sister and I. We listened to The Partridge Family in the living room and took turns in the bouncy chair, which wasn’t really that bouncy, but rather a wingback chair that had some bounce in the back. We each got a song and then the next person got to go. I loved bouncing. And then we realized that none of our friends seemed to bounce in their chairs listening to music, or certainly never talked about it.

That’s when it all became a secret, the bouncing and rolling, subjects of shame. My older sister insisted that she had stopped bouncing, but we caught her doing it on her own. And then she mocked us for rolling, something she had never done. “Are you still rolling in bed? What babies!” And so my brother stopped, or said he did. Not me. We were now in separate rooms, and I liked rolling. I rolled in the darkness of my room through middle and high school, because there was nothing as safe and perfect as that.

I tried rolling again years later but didn’t get it. It was an odd thing to do, and I couldn’t find the rhythm. I was no longer a kid.