Status Update.



When I think of it, if I turn on podcasts for my commute I’m usually a happier person than if I listen to the news. This requires a mindful moment when I plug in the Bluetooth and hit the podcasts. It takes about two extra minutes before I peel out of the parking lot. I think I’ll remember to do this more because the other day I horrified myself when I witnessed my disembodied hand subconsciously reaching to turn the volume up to listen to a well-known, polarizing, and certain orange-tinted demagogue.

At least I caught myself just in time.
 Yup, need to take a break from the news.
In such a listening mode, a This American Life episode #573: Status Update caught my attention. Lately, I’ve been thinking about friends and their lives now: some friends I’ve known since I was four years old, and many others since I was 13. These are women who have experienced many big, and little events in life. There is no small sense of melancholy when I confess that when I see pictures in social media of how they still connect (many live in other states) it reminds me of what I don’t have, or missed out on, in my own life. It’s not so much jealousy or envy: those connote a “me too and not them” idea.
It’s just: this time in life I’m coming to terms with where things have landed.
One of the markers in the new-ish evaluation system is an indication of ‘student status.’
Here is one thing that’s not mentioned, but has an impact: students are constantly comparing themselves to one another, and are on the look-out for others’ status in terms of diminishing their own. Even a few weeks ago a student said something to the effect, “Oh {blank} is your favorite and you will do what {blank} thinks is a good idea.” There was some truth to that: “Blank” is incredibly precocious and creative. It’s difficult not to respond to his ideas and momentum. We all look at those with that “it” factor and unfairly compare ourselves.
So how do we elevate the status of each? Not so much a special snowflake disparage, but in terms of how do we recognize that our paths are our own?
One thing that’s disappointed me this year is how many students simply will not share their knowledge or questions. I know there’s lots of tricks and tips to get them to create accountable talk — a term that makes me bristle (and I’m not sure why)–perhaps because it sounds so bean-counter-ish. Perhaps it’s time to have students determine and reflect on their own status and check their personal biases.
Any suggestions or media that would suit this purpose? I’d love to hear from you.