via Daily Prompt: Observe

All right. I’ve been observed all my life. In nursery school. At singing lessons. During examinations .

In my work place I am the observed again. Carefully placed cameras in the nooks and crannies of the college hall observe me walking to my graduate class students. The students, bored and unable to understand me, observe my teaching as a performance. I perform Macbeth and they watch my performance with a sigh while the Principal stands outside the door and observes …no judges me. I want to be free. I want to hear the cicadas and watch a drongo skip from branch to branch, I want to observe the specks of airplanes as they climb the skies. I want to be one with the twigs and branches, the baked mud and the parched earth.

But to do all this I must have sufficient means and to garner that means another round of observations and grading and measuring out my life in coffee spoons and core course periods. Still trapped. A poor life this if full of care/ we have no time to stand and stare.

2 thoughts on “Panopticon

  1. Redolent with wistful longing for a Utopia that, sadly, always carries a price. The ‘coffee-spoon’ measures of time and teaching ‘performances’ are the currency you pay life’s bills in. I suspect that more of your students are interested than those who appear bored. Never under-estimate the shallowness of the masses. However, on the law of averages, there must be at least one aspiring achiever attending your lectures who thinks, “I wish I could think/ emote/ speak and project like that.” That one mind that you influence is who you are doing it for. That is the spiritual core of what you do which mere money couldn’t buy. Shakespeare is heavy going at the best of times and – from my own distant memory of high school English Lit. classes – those teachers who could interpret the subtleties and nuances of Shakespearean English and infuse the characters with personalities and plots with relevance and interest were super-intellects held in awe by the comparative illiterati such as i who read the same words but seemed unable to derive the same levels of context and meaning. What a privilege to be in a position where you can actually influence young minds – and, as an aside, be remunerated. A Principal who may judge your teaching skills and performance based upon your visible effect upon assembled students is a slave of superficial perception and – in a performance-evaluation context – lacks management skills of any discernible substance. That you can, midst the hurly-burly of domestic life, commuter-traffic, the endless cognitive dissonance of the chattering classes, mindless friends devious career competitors and life’s usual enemies and time-wasters, still dream of “cicadas, drongos and blue skies” is such a healthy sign that the romanticist and artist in you has not been impaired or extinguished. Escaping the existentialist ‘bars’ of the cage of life may appear attractive but changing environments simply means changing the bars. Ongoing adaptations and accommodations are the stuff of life, not to be meekly accepted, but vigorously resisted – all the way. In the words of the late Margaret Thatcher, British PM, “Life is uphill – to the very end.”
    After all that philosophising do the rationalising of your position, a quick SWOT-analysis:
    Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Keep up the good writing, therapeutic for you and a pleasure to read.


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