No Loathing On The Campaign Trail, at the Edu-Mountain.
This week is the all important Campaign Week for elected student offices for the Class of ’18, which is the class that I am currently teaching English to. The students said, in a recent survey, that they feel that they don’t really have any kind of voice on campus. That’s sad, but speaks to the ineffectiveness of so-called “student government”. Three of my students are campaigning, and I have done my best to assist each of them in their campaigns. One of them doesn’t even want to make posters, counting on raw popularity. Another one is highly motivated but painfully shy. Still a third, who I think would be an excellent choice because of her work ethic, asked me to help out however I can.
I was drawing the art above, using one of the recent DC “Prez” covers as a reference, when it dawned on me what I should do. I redrew the character to look like my student, who we see depicted above…both standing in the foreground, and carved into Mount Rushmore. I had intended the piece to originally be one about student government as kind of a sham, and naught but a popularity contest, just like in my time. Instead, it became a sort of tone poem to the awesomeness of one young person.
Ultimately, I worked harder at it…and made a version that is not posted here, which was a campaign poster for that final student. Imported fonts in a “Varsity” style to present a simple, but direct slogan. Then, at school, printed it up in 24″ by 36″ poster size. When I presented the giant print to the young candidate in question, asking if she thought it was good…well, you can’t purchase the feeling that the look on that excellent student’s face produced. Those moments…those are the reasons that you come to school. Arguably, they are the teacher student relationship at its finest.
I do think she can do an excellent job. Making her a poster for reproduction on campus…it was my way of expressing that confidence. In fact, I’d be happy to do so for the other two students, but one is too shy (sigh) and the other actually unmotivated to campaign actively, despite wanting the position. That is already an interesting insight into our young people’s thoughts on politics as a whole.
Still, the young lady that I made the poster for…she is a straight A student. Hardworking, athletic as well as academic, humble in a way that is confusing considering her talents. If I had a kid, I would want that kid to be like this one. Honestly, she wants the position JUST so that there can be more and better school activities, because she actively wants to make the school a better place. This young lady is in my sixth period class, and on bad days, I am glad that I see her at the end of them, because she reminds me what a better person is, and what I should strive to be like.
I think that if when I was a student, kids like her were in student government, I wouldn’t have thought it was such a total crock of @#$%. I think I wouldn’t be as down on the idea of student government, or maybe even government in general, as I am right now. My point, and I do have one, is this:
It’s easy to be down on young people, and down on the state of modern politics. It’s very, very easy. For once in my life, I think I don’t want to be cynical. I’m enjoying supporting this candidate for Class President, who stands for pretty simple things that I can get behind. She wants school to be fun. She wants more activities, and positive relationships. She wants everyone, teachers and students, to be excellent to each other. She has a quiet courage which I am envious of, because it is truly strong, as opposed to my loud and boisterous courage, which is easy to pull off, and hides simple fears.
These are things that I support and respect, and wish that I saw more in adults. I’m beyond proud to see it in my students, and even more so that I can make her smile.