Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Straying from the Script

     When you work for a private company, you're allowed to stray from the script  because there is always someone listening...a parent or teacher or volunteer. I don't remember cameras in the hallways or classrooms, only eyes and ears.
     That's how I broke the rule and told him something teachers aren't really supposed to say in public school.
     It's okay to start on Wikipedia, to get the general idea.
     The secret is knowing where to go from there...That it's only the beginning.
     He thought Wikipedia was a bad source because anyone can edit it, or so "they" say.
     I agreed with him about that but pointed to the bottom of the page, where the sources are numbered.
     That's where I begin looking for the right answers, I said. It's kinda backwards, but it works.
     You can go all the way to the top, I said, if you do it the right way.
     It's how I started my research for my Master's thesis on why minorities get more labels.
     Most of what I wrote had already been said by Linda Darling-Hammond, so it was a rerun of her stuff. There was no revelation that deserved publication on its own, with my name attached.
     What I did find out was sad. The professor was not impressed and gave me the lowest possible grade without risking the chance of having me back in her class that fall.
     The services I sought to prevent labels had been in place since I was in college the first time, at UNC. The song I was singing was so familiar no one even listened any longer.
     Parents of children needing help were too afraid to ask or didn't know it was even out there. By the time a label reached their children, it would be on there for life, most likely.
     I felt like I had discovered the lie behind my new career choice.
     It was asking me to write promises on paper that I never intended to keep without even looking back at the consequences afterward.
     I collected my diploma at the ceremony, but it's not the one I brag about.
     That Honor goes to my degree from the School of Journalism at UNC.
     Charles Kuralt spoke at my graduation announcement.
     He was cool.