Bomb Squat

*courtesy of Nat. Geo.

I’ve been trying to employ the photograph in my weekly lessons. The students rarely understand my meaning. I often don’t either.

Today I knew what a ticking time bomb feels like, as I watched my grasp on the class slip away. Sometimes I become someone I hardly know in that class. Someone I don’t want to admit I know, at least, and who I don’t like very much.

This feeling stems from yesterday, when daily routine was dashed as testing commenced this week. First period consumed fifth period for the last 20 minutes of school, and I scrambled to figure out what to do with what surely would be a chaotic bunch.

I thought Obama could save me. I raved within myself as the connection sputtered to the National Website, whitehouse.gov, where I found the President’s speech of two days ago. It was his second annual pep talk to students across America, an address which inspired antagonistic furor the year prior, but hardly raised an eyebrow this year.

My students were getting out of hand already. I clicked play. Several students protested in an English I couldn’t interpret. Immediately, the man was a laughing stock among his own people. “Only two years later?” I wondered. What became of the psychological sea-change I expected would come of the very presence of a black man in the White House? These children had gone from, “Yes, we can,” back to “Can’t, and won’t.” The man was but another talking head, this one bloated from celebrity, still coasting on a vapid hope. A has-been, or even a never-was-but-for-a-minute. He will go down in history, but our children still do not fly.

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