Ants marching…and zombies

I love Dave Matthews Band.  Love them.  I once had the really hot evening with the song “Crash Into Me.”  But I will provide no more details on that.  Mum is the word.

But there is one song that sums up this time of year.  It is “Ants Marching.”  I hear it in my head when I am going through the daily motions – the alarm clock, the same drive each day, the same car I am behind that I end up passing midway to school, the same novels and short stories that I have taught the years before, the same homework shuffle I deal with my own kids at home, the same getting everything ready for the next day – only to do it all over again.  Ants Marching.

My friend who works in business felt like this too, only she called herself a corporate zombie.  I thought it was hilarious.  Her bosses didn’t.  But I believe she has a good point.  She was trying to showcase a new software piece to replace the same old power point. She was thinking outside the box, she was ahead of her time and she was amazingly creative in this new approach.  They didn’t like it.  In fact, they poo pooed it and it hurt her heart.  So, she said she felt like a corporate zombie.  I would have felt the same. Poopie.

But, it is not just the corporate world that has the ability to turn a perfectly good human being into a zombie.  In education, too, we can become zombies marching.  Recently, a team I am on made a huge production for a “roll-out” of certain “core values” for our school.  In the spring, we prefaced the entire thing with emails to the staff, staff meetings discussing what the values should be, and even a survey to see which values were the most important.  We thought we had a green light.  This fall, upon returning to school to “ready” the big roll-out, we were bombarded with questions, concerns and even resentment (how dare we try and better the school!  Who did we think we were! OM to the G!).  Yikes!  It was as if zombies had inhabited the bodies of our coworkers.  It was as if none of the prep we did mattered.  But, like good worker ants, we kept marching.

On the other hand, in a way, we are all Ants Marching Corporate/Government Zombies.  We do what we are told, when are told to do it.  What is sad is that with all of this marching, we are losing out on creativity, individuality and just plain, good ol’ imagination.  I can’t even begin to share how many teachers have said they teach to the test so they have given up on teaching creative thought.  So, in essence, they, too, are creating Ants Marching Zombies. Sad, but oh so true.


2 thoughts on “Ants marching…and zombies

  1. Everything you say is true. I am so much happier teaching at the college level where I don’t have to worry about parents or administrators or ruining children. And people have NO IDEA what is coming down the path with the new “Core Four” curriculum that nearly every state has adopted. No one outside of education has even heard of it; but we know what it is. It’s more emphasis on preparing children for college, more standardized testing.

    *whispering* But guess what? Not everyone was meant to go to college. It just isn’t the panacea for all our nation’s problems.

    Or, as one flailing (and ultimately failing) recently student commented: “College isn’t the pancetta.”


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