Friday, September 18, 2009

What Knowles Knew

It should be noted that all three of the public offenders mentioned in yesterday's blog offered apologies, both to the public and to the people to whom their remarks were aimed.  Mr. West apologized to Ms. Swift, Ms. Williams apologized to the line judge, and Congressman Wilson apologized to President Obama.  Each showed a willingness to take Responsibility for his or her actions and that is refreshing.  Hopefully, the apologies receive as much YouTube time as the offenses.

But the real Hero in these seemingly disconnected displays of disrespect was the bystander Beyonce.   Obviously aghast when she heard Kanye West use her name to take something away from another artist, Ms. Knowles later collected her own award for VMA video of the year (making Mr. West's remarks seem even more foolish).  Taking the stage, she graciously and immediately called Taylor Swift from the wings and handed her the microphone that had previously been taken away so that "Taylor...could have her moment."

What I connected with from our work in schools was Ms. Knowles' opening remark: "I remember being 17 years old..." One of the characteristics I have noted in the best teachers and administrators is the ability to slide quickly and easily into the experience of their students from their own experience of having been students. The middle school-teacher who uses the memory of being twelve, the high school assistant principal who sees in the student sent to his office himself at sixteen--these educators are Heroes to those in their care as Ms. Knowles was to the teenage Taylor Swift.

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