When Teachers Turn Clouds into Spaceships

The Sun Sets Sail

Painting by Rob Gonsalves

Did you know the Native Americans could not recognize the first galleons arriving in the Americas? They stared at the ships for days but misidentified their sails for clouds on the horizon. The galleons were so unique and out of their world that they could not see them. The Indians could only process the experience through their understanding of the world. How surprised they must have been to learn these “clouds” carried men of white skin who came from beyond the edge of the earth.

Sometimes things that are so obvious elude us then drastically change our appreciation and understanding of life. You cannot describe an experience, an object or a person unless you have the words for it.

Imagine walking through this world day in and day out and not seeing something so noticeable and so apparent. This is why teachers are so esteemed and respected. They provide a word or an explanation of a concept that changes our lives forever.

Robin Williams made us laugh at ourselves. He was a teacher who used comedy to show us our insecurities and prejudices. In one of his early stand-up performances, he pointed out our willingness to ignore our bigotry and need to find crazy to deal with governmental policies. Appears the zaniness of the world in the late 70s is no different than today.

He pretended to be an elderly man who was a bit crazy, “a bit fongooze bozo.” The government was giving people methadone to help them cope with the world “since the aliens arrived. And the aliens weren’t the little green suckers we thought they were. They were 8 feet tall, black and they were pissed.” He closed the show with this skit and left the stage by telling everyone he loved everyone regardless of who they were.

So play with the mystery of life. Support the teachers who turn clouds into spaceships. Release the dogmas that create bias and limit our understanding of the world. Our children will be pissed if we don’t.

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