UTNE Reader Responses

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This is my UTNE Reader response page

-- Anonymous, November 11, 1998


"Learning in the Key of Life" was a very meaningful article to me. First of all, I have been in educational stagnation for the past several years. I have gotten into the rut of just leading my hectic life. I'm the person the editors are referring to in their prologue - and I am one of the educationally disadvantaged that the article refers to. I have not achieved an adequate humanities education. I have been content to blame this on my educational experiences, but recently have been motivated to do something about it rather than to just sit back and complain that I have not been fed my educational spinach. Shoris' quote, "You've been cheated. Rich people learn the humanities; you didn't......." can be applied to me as easily as to Shorris' class from New york's Lower East Side. However, for some reason I've been longing for depth lately - in my relationships with my family, my colleagues and with my education. I am enjoying the Cohort Model because the pressure is there to make something happen educationally for myself. This may be what I need to make it happen. Can I merge a humanities emphasis into my Cohort program? I think the possibility is there. The motivation is building to get myself moving and this article from the Utne is one of the motivational agents. Secondly, I've been unhappy in general with the shift in attitudes toward high school curriculum. It seems that more and more resources are being poured into technology courses and advancements, while the humanities are being overlooked. Students and their parents seem to want their education to transfer directly from class to a job. It feels like we have to justify teaching Shakespeare and Thoreau. The almost beligerent "When am I ever going to use this at a job?" is difficult to answer. I need to do a better job of putting my students' education into perspective for them. The information from this article will help me do this.

-- Anonymous, November 15, 1998

Good comments, Sue! Yes, I think that the article was also very good in making me stop and think of what is actually going on in education! You must teach English? I teach special ed., but work with students who need to learn basic everyday skills just to survive! I think that this article hit it on the nail when it quoted ? (I can't remember who, right now) by saying something to the effect that one will not be able to use their technological skills 60 years from now. And the other thought that we will make time for that which we love. Interesting...comments...I hope that the cohort group will continue to challenge and get you out of your rut. It's easy to slip into one, I know!! I've needed a challenge lately too!

-- Anonymous, November 15, 1998

Utne Response #2 Sue A. Lalama Cohort 3 Utne Response #2 Burroway, Janet. "My Son, the Militarist". Utne Reader. August 1998.

Reading "My Son, the Militarist" by Janet Burroway was such a reflective experience for me. In this article Ms. Burroway focuses upon her experience of raising a son who has become a soldier. This is difficult because she considers herself a liberal who used to address envelopes in the 60's for Mothers Against the Bomb. Her main conflict is that although her son has become a soldier ,which is against her liberal anti-war views, he is still her son, and she loves him deeply. Her parenthetical "(I am responsible for my son; I am not responsible for my son; who are you to insult my son?) (29) reaction to her liberal friend's criticism of him was familiar to me. This article was reflective for me in several ways. In the late 60's and early 70's I was a vocal liberal, anti-war flower child, and I now have a son who is 17 and eager to chart his own course. Children become determined to make their own way despite/or because of how you raise them. When they get into their late teens and after many late night political discussions, you realize that at this point your only option is to open up your arms and let them go; it's difficult. When I sent my son's class photo in Christmas cards this year, I knew what the response would be. My family, remembering my braless, hairy, patched jeans era would react with loving teases about his blue hair and spiked collar. They're eager to show me the mirror and point out the similarities although the details in the reflection have changed. His views about the benefits of anarchy and his plans to visit the Chiapas area in Mexico frighten us. Again, I can relate to Burroway's 'I am responsible/not responsible reaction'. While my son's political views seem too militaristic and reactionary to me, again the mirror reflects, since I'm sure my views seemed this way to my family in the 70's. "These faults unfold his virtues."(31). He cares deeply about injustice and has a burning desire to make a difference in the world. Thus the paradox, while I disagree with his politics, I am very proud of his motivations. So while I have a brief chance, I'll keep trying to influence and agree with Burroway that "To love deeply where you deeply disagree creates a double vision that impinges daily in unexpected ways."(31)

-- Anonymous, January 13, 1999


I did not read this article, only your response to it, but can understand what you're saying (from also talking to you personally), about kids becoming their own individuals and having their own views on things, because or regardless of how you raise them. I can only imagine at this point in my life, how it must feel to "let them go" and experience those things in which you wish they wouldn't, or don't totally agree with. I guess I'll be getting my turn to experience this in about 16 years or so. All you or I can do is hope that we will have raised them well.

-- Anonymous, January 27, 1999

Sue, I am one of those supporting readers. Have you examined this article in light of some of the risks that your students are taking in their own journeys? Do you find that some of the challenges they face are similar in constuct to those we see in the article? I would be interested to hear if you have looked at these questions.

-- Anonymous, February 18, 1999

Utne Reader 2/23

Sanders, Scott Russell. "The Stuff of Life". Utne Reader. Nov.-Dec. 1998.

Tatelbaum, Linda. "My Not-So -Simple Resume". Utne Reader. Nov.-Dec. 1998

Submitted by Sue Lalama 2/23/99

Juxtaposing the views about 'the simple life' with the above two articles was very interesting. Sanders is pining for the simple life and takes vacations to the remote wilds to experience simplicity and feed his soul. He feels deep dissatisfaction when he returns to civilization and experiences again all its encumbrances and trappings. On the other hand, Linda Tatelbaum has had what Sanders thinks he wants. She has spent years living in the wilderness. To her, hauling water, eating simply, and being separated electronically from other humans became the encumbrance. As she wades through the years Tatelbaum has decided that adding some modern "stuff" helps to simplify her life. Both points of view are valid. As modern members of an ever shrinking earth we all should be weighing our 'stuff' carefully. Instead of blindly grabbing what we want we should be making rational decisions about what we need and about the true cost of an item. While it's difficult, we need to redefine cost . The cost of an item should not just be determined by its sale markdown tag. We have to look at how best to use the earth's limited resources. We should carefully consider all additions to our collections of stuff.

-- Anonymous, February 24, 1999

Sue, An interesting contrast. I agree that we need to think twice before making all of those spontaneous purchases. We need to ask ourselves how badly we need the "stuff," is it worth the cost, and how is it affecting the environment/resource supply? Another consideration is to ask yourself where you're going to store this newly purchased "stuff." I don't know if you have ever seen George Carlan's standup act where he talks about "stuff," but it really hits the nail on the head. He says that the more "stuff" we acquire, the bigger the place we will need to have to keep the "stuff." I have to admit that I am a "stuff" collector. I an an impulse buyer, but I am getting more consciencious about my purchases. As I mentioned to someone else's response on this article, I, as well as many others, have been burned by credit card purchases. They can easily get away from you.

-- Anonymous, February 25, 1999

Hi Sue: I just read your new comments.(By the way, I am the new facilitator. Living a more simple life style really forces us to look at more than just how we spend. Do your students wonder what is needed to be happy? Ironically, simplifying our lives may be the best way. How does this relate? Please let me know what you think. John Hansen

-- Anonymous, March 01, 1999

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