Tuesday, March 17, 2009


My eyes are lazy and don't see well.
With my hands I see, and that is good.
I can hold the whole world in my hands
when I am seeing with them a good pot.
Then there is the earth:
dense and hard, yet at one time it grew,
expanded and breathed;
there like seed to stalk to flower to fruit,
it patiently endured the potter's tactile search.

The clay speaks softly but firmly to the potter,
it is not afraid because it will always have the last word,
even if it must atomize itself to return again
and seeks its destiny anew in another's hands.

My hands see the clay and the clay murmers to them
take it easy, you're in good hands.

The dialogue continues and long after that brief communication
when the hands and the clay see each other, they know.
They know.

Richard Fairbanks, unpublished manuscript, undated

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pink Friday..

For those that might not know, this last Friday (3/15) was the deadline for educators to receive pink slips, which are preliminary layoff notices. This doesn't necessarily mean that they will get laid off, simply forewarns them that they can be laid off.

Pretty much every school in California recognized Pink Friday, and those effected by pinks slips, by wearing something pink.

Anyhow, today I read this article/blog in the LA Time about the situation and what was interesting were the comments. I thought most people were united in the stance to support education. I thought people understood that the failure in our educational system lies on the fact that government only really sees it as something to make campaign promises about.

Recently Obama spoke about merit pay for educators. This was absolutely wonderful as he gave no specifics. But had me thinking. I teach ceramics. What kind of basis would this merit pay be based on...some sort of testing score of course...but ceramics? I suppose most of the visual art and performance arts teachers would feel the pain there...

I think that if we want qualified teachers, we need smarter teachers. Goes without saying I suppose...But when a society's reward is money/compensation, why would anybody want to teach? Education relies on the goodness of qualified educators who take the cut to teach...and...the idiots that can't get other jobs (because it's quite easy to receive your credentials...) Raise the salary, raise the bar. Let's see how that changes our educational system. But of course that would mean our government would have to care, and investing in anything long-term is just not the American way...

PS: No...I didn't receive one but I know some good teachers that did.