Friday, January 27, 2006

Critical raising

I think I have made it somewhat clear that I will shortly be missing my job. With number two due in summer I will be out of work soon. First time, I was so excited about being a Mama and I was also really worn out from the 3 years I had put in getting established at this job; maternity leave seemed like a nice break. I leave this time more hesitantly, part of my profound migration to the sentimental side of existence since entering the parenting game, I guess. Wondering if I'll be back at all and likely idealising ever day I put in between now and sign-off. But, if there is any rational cause to my reluctance to depart it presented itself to me this week.

As it turns out, I actually dragged my ass to a very excellent evening program at our city's public library to celebrate Family Literacy Week. I am not, as a rule, a Family Literacy Week booster, but I do, at least, try to show up for one or another event every year, this was my '06 pick. Although literacy is not really a hot thing to be 'against' in the last 10 years or so an enormous -- don't hate us we are not-for-profit -- industry of literacy has evolved -- and I don't much like it. It is centered on two things that I can get enough of: 1.) Researchers; and, 2.) Politicians. As a professional helping-people-read person, I am a hard-core and sometimes cynical praticitioner. I go to things like Raising the Critically Thinking Child: School Library as Catalyst with an eyebrow fixedly raised.

The program was a public panel discussion. The panel was made up of two academics and one librarian. SEE we are always outnumbered by them. Speaker #1, Joel Bakan, oh he of must-see-movie, rebel-sell The Corporation. Speaker #2, Dr. Roland, Professor of Education and Critical Thinker! Speaker #3, my colleague, the charmer Patricia the librarian. The content was good from everyone. But, inevitably the academics began bickering early on due to one rather ill-chosen citation, nice goin' Dr. Ro. By question time the crowd was immersed in the potential intellectual fistfight they could cultivate by agreeing with one or the other Phud. At this juncture being the decent literacy-loving sorts they are they tried to control the sort of unruly colosseum type crowd a Wednesday night at Central branch can attract. And, how did they do it? By retreating from their respective positions into how the work of the book lady ACTUALLY does support and develop criticically thinking kids. How a library is the antithesis of corporate domination, a catalyst of community. What with it being at odds with ownership really and being focused on making the widest possible range of resources available to everyone for free, n' everything. I sat pretty tall and proud.

I think my favorite part was where they both tried to reference a really good book they could scarcely recall details of... "Er, I don't remember the title of Shari Graydon's book but..." All the libs in the room call out the title in a sec. For a lot of folks helping kids -- or anyone -- learn gets sort of well, academic. In the business where I landed after 10 years in the wilderness we are just doin' it. I mean of course I get quite caught up in the glamour of thank-you notes from a grade 4 class once in a while, I mean who wouldn't love 30 illustrations of themselves with a great OZ like head and signed the Class of Needy Elementary #97. but I like to keep it real. I certainly enjoyed the panel, scared the beejeezus outta me really, are p-man and I prepared to raise a critically thinking child? Doubtful. But that's for another post, eh.

Aside from what there was to see I also left with a very selfish development of how I am feeling these days. Sure there is a lot to be said for having kids when you are, ahem, older, but it has its drawbacks, too. Obviously, #1 I am a thoroughly exhausted fogey. But then there is #2 That, I am pretty confused about what the heck is happening to a career I have nurtured and built. I really like my job and though my family gives me more than all that in vastly different and then at other times similar ways.... One year is a long time away and I guess I'm not too silly to admit I will miss my job. Its a dilemma, as my fellow blogger Heather suggests. Hmmmm.


Blogger stefanierj said...

As an academic who's been cast without a net into mommydom, I can say I feel ya. There are a lotta days when I'd rather raise someone ELSE'S critically thinking child. :)

7:06 p.m.  
Blogger L. said...

Of COURSE you`ll miss your job, if you love it! Doesn`t that go without saying? Don`t listen to the people who say things like, "Oh, I never miss my job because my baby is number one in MY life!" (which of course implies that your baby is not -- so just tune these people out).

And let me know if you ever go to a workshop on dealing with the OVERLY critical child.

4:14 p.m.  
Blogger bitemycookie said...

i too am suddenly without a benefits-covering j.o.b. i left happily. working is for suckers. playing is much more fun. especially at your house, i bet. hi again. sorry i've been away so long. i've been missing reading your posts with open in another window. hope all is well. carry on.

10:47 p.m.  

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