To give you no context to the letter below would be a mistake.
It was only days after I freshly got fired from the school I was working at as a teacher assistant (for “undisclosed reasons” – [Arizona is a “Right to Work” state so they don’t have to tell you why they fired you] *smh*).
I was kinda pissed but mostly shocked.
So there I am, woken up by my daughter having a scary dream in her sleep (poor thing! – she is only three). My mind is fully awake. I toss and turn thinking, “WHAT IN THE HELL COULD THEY HAVE FIRED ME FOR?”. After about 30-40 minutes of this nonsensical loop, I did what I usually do when my mind runs, I get up and write.
I wrote about only one thing: my feelings of being cheated! (basically I felt cheated because I wasn’t able to continue this rich and valuable professional relationship I was building with the “Dean of Students”, “Ms. Shelly”). It was unfair! Our conversations always had substance to it and every time I talked to her I gained new insights into the politics of education. It was great.
So I communicated these emotions… because anyways, when you have just the right blend of emotions (at 3:00am) and a wild heart, something spectacularly odd can glean the pages. And this was the letter that I wrote:
“Ms. “Not Mary” Shelly,
Thank you again, so much, for noticing my unanswered question at that meeting we had the other day. It’s those simple acts that so powerfully describe your character. I deeply respect who you choose to be.
I will do my best at offering this terribly weak apology: an apology, in advance, for any awkwardness this letter may cause (given the situation of course).
*taking in a breath* *then authentically smiling*
Not that this next detail matters too much, sometimes it’s nice to just laugh about things: I actually spent an hour the other day – before any of this happened – typing out a wonderfully crafted email inside of Outlook, however, as you probably have had experience with, it timed out on me and I lost all of it. *Wha -Wha- Whoaaaaaw*
I just want to be absolutely clear: I am like puppy-dog excited to talk with you about non-work related material! (which is why my ears fold about all of this because I feel like we had left so much on the table ):
But honestly, I am an impatient man, a lifelong learner as well, so I just say screw it – time heals everything anyway. (unfortunately for us we don’t have that magic ingredient in this brief letter – and it’s never fun touching a raw, fleshy wound)
So this is my best shot at being as tender as I can (even though my timing isn’t) *sorry man* 😛
As you might have already gathered (?), my brain is literally exploding at all times. It’s on a non-stop firing mode for innovation and new ideas are hitting me at maybe a dozen a day in real time. I can’t turn it off. for example: I know I disclosed to you this “mega-project” I had going on about synthesizing the national curriculum and making it free for parents and educators to have an open dialogue about…. and just how scandalous this might actually be… well that project is only one out of many that I have. (and of two other mini-mega side projects not related to education). Each of my ideas are – most likely – equally ambitious. (For the longest time I thought this is how all humans were too, and I just happened to pay more attention to this constant stream of ideas. But as it turns out – my suspicion was otherwise solidified only after recently listening to Elon Musk/Joe Rogan podcast, of which I highly recommend!). This is exactly why I am a terrible employee. *kind of laughing* I feel far too alive inside to abide by societal or local norms – which are honestly plainly bizarre constructs! (probably founded from plain insecurity, I might add).
I’m angry. I am angry MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE with our (you and I, I mean) “apparent” communication block. I honestly am not that mad that I got fired compared to the possible INVALUABLE relationship that could have flowered over our dialogues. You see, I know basically, actually, literally, not a soul on this planet other than you that actually cares about the same thing that I do in a thoughtful manner. SO you can see why this email feels “desperate” (?). I have been on an island my whole life – in dreamland it appears from the outside – on how to maximize the potential for education in serious manner. It appears very few have glimpsed the true magnitude of the grandest potential for the field of education; if they did, honestly, they could only feel like shit about themselves pursuing anything else. It blows my mind even reflecting on it now.
okay. there is A LOT more but
let’s cut this short.
What’s the point of this letter? I don’t expect a reply from you because I understand what could be at stake. So what could I possibly expect? You to just smile or sneer at all of this from the other side of the paper?
More than anything this is a cry for resources. I need help. Honestly, I need a community. I don’t fit in here (or anywhere mostly)! I especially don’t fit in at the school, Lion Purr’s (lol). The fact of the matter is, I need to move mountains but I can’t do it by myself, not in 4 or even 5 life-times.
So what am I asking?
I am asking, kindly, when you have time and feel a reply is appropriate, (probably to iidentifywithignorance@gmail) to give some direction, ANY direction. I need honest advice – I try to explain but genuinely no one listens or cares about my ideas. (I know because I share them with everyone) I just need direction from someone that at least cares! *sort of holding back inarticulable words and emotions* Athena, do you know of communities or people that would like to get involved in doing HEAVY reconstruction in education (specifically starting a school that offers alternative degrees that hold no inherent value but will eventually prove viable in the free-market and out-compete the high school diploma)? And I am not talking about democratic schools like Sudbury, or even the unschooling communities, I am talking about real, serious entrepreneurs and educators that want to tap into the field of education to transform the way we do education for generations and generations to come. (I literally already have models ready to present, even potential drafts for business plans!)
*God this letter l feels heavy, doesn’t it?* 😉
At the end of the day, if you don’t help me, and you don’t reply, and it turns out that you actually just sneered this off, don’t worry about it. I already know that (if it is the case that I don’t die in the next 50 or so years from some freak accident) that all of the things I want to manifest into the world will become manifest. I will accomplish all of the things I seek to accomplish with or without your help.
It is just a matter of whether or not you want to be a part of this story.
Thanks for your precious time,
– Chase S. Gielda.”
~ In case you were wondering, to protect all persons involved I have used “alter-ego” names. “Lion Purr” is the authoritarian place I was fired from and “Athena Shelly”… heh! *huffing air out of my nose with silent laughter because it’s not that funny* is the “Dean of Students” at Lion Purr’s. ~
Yeahup. Only there is one catch to this letter, I couldn’t send it electronically. The day I was fired, I was locked out of all of their systems, even my payroll portal. Even if I knew Ms. Shelly’s email by heart, it would get filtered out through their servers. But I was determined to deliver this letter to her as soon as humanly possible. That morning, at like 5:00 am, I texted one of my co-workers asking if she could deliver this letter to Ms. Shelly. I didn’t want my co-worker to email it because then it could get her in trouble for “conspiring” or something (idk). So she printed off the letter and delivered it to Ms. Shelly anonymously. Which means, I don’t know FOR SURE if Ms. Athena Shelly actually read the letter.
At the time of publishing this online, more than a week has passed and I still have not received a reply. *still crossing my fingers* I’ll keep y’all posted if she does.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!
– All the best,
p.s. Thanks so much for reading! I hope you got as much a kick out of reading it as I did writing it. To me, this is the perfect place to re-stake/re-establish myself as a writer. I had so much fun writing it that it re-ignited my love for writing. I hope to write more like this and share it with you. Until next time!