C's bookshelf: read

The Peculiar
Maggot Moon
The City and the City
The Road
A Certain Slant of Light
The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Brown Girl in the Ring
Well Wished
The Innkeeper's Song
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art
American Indian Myths and Legends
The Left Hand of Darkness
The Return of the King
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers

C S Peterson's favorite books »

Monday, March 7, 2011

Key Cutting in the Matrix

I don’t know whom I’m teaching
But I know some of whom I’ve taught:
Several good parents, a community organizer,
one’s a thief in jail, one was shot.

There is a character in one of the Matrix movies that makes keys and sometimes that’s what I feel like I’m doing as a teacher, making keys to open doors. At our school students pick a topic they are passionate about to study in depth.  Their core teacher designs curriculum around their topic.  Then there are five of us who design field trips related to their topic where the students can do something hands on or interview an expert.  So, that’s straightforward – student has pointed out the door, I go to work on a key.

But today the five of us worked on a key important to us.  We are trying to intentionally diversify our contacts for field trips, especially the experts we ask to speak with our students.  It is a key and a door I don’t really want my students even to be conscious of.  I just want to walk them into a room that looks and sounds like the future I want, where no one bats an eye at an African-American physicist or a Latina astronaut.  It is an awkward key to make.  I’m working on becoming a better communicator but I’m always uncertain and the potential of offence scuttles around and works its way into my fluttering stomach.  Cutting this key is taking a lot of patience, trust and stumble tolerance.  But we have good allies, and today I am very hopeful.


  1. Just the fact you are acknowledging the need for this new key is a big step. I like the analogy very much, especially not that you are choosing a key, but cutting it-takes more talent.

  2. I appreciate your analogy too. Thanks for sharing it. Good luck in crafting your key.
    Happy writing,