Daily Prompt Hear No Evil Tell us about a conversation you couldn’t help but overhear and wish you hadn’t.
I was still a new teacher there, my first school after moving to California. I’m now convinced that maybe I’m somehow not quite like the other kids, but then I thought I was. I thought I had found my niche, was in the mainstream, a talented young teacher, with good ideas and something to offer. Well…
I walked down the hall of the shabby “temporary” classroom building with its dirty brown carpet that was buckled and wrinkled from ceiling leaks and students’ wet shoes. I was excited to be working on a project — my first! — with a couple of my colleagues. About 8 feet from the door I heard:
“What’s she teaching for, anyway?”
“I have no idea.”
“She doesn’t belong here, and now Sally wants us to work with her?”
“Sally says she’s ‘cree-AY-tive’.”
“Shh. She’ll be here any minute.”
“Oh God. Why us?”
The word — which all my life I’d considered a compliment — had been uttered with a sneer…
I walked in. Neither had any idea I’d heard them. I don’t think I ended up working on the project with them. In later years, each decided to become friends with me. It was politic for me to be friendly, but I could never summon up more than that. I wonder if they ever wondered why.
That was my first experience with the idea that many people have that creative people are flakes; disorganized, unfocused, unreliable, amoral, mentally unstable, illogical and rebellious. I’m none of those things. This little meme feeds right into that stereotype:
For all our yammering about “embracing diversity” it seems we only do that on the most superficial levels, the animal level — skin color, certain obvious mental challenges and sexual orientation. My experience is that people have a very hard time accepting anything truly “diverse.”
Original posting of this essay was on March 3, 2014 The prompt was slightly different, but even THIS prompt is a repeat…