Friday, May 18, 2007

Emily earns her street cred

Yesterday I had to sit and babysit another teacher's class while she was in a meeting. Her assignment for the day: a worksheet about hurricanes that took ten minutes to fill out during a 95 minute class. After they finished I talked a bit about what it was like to live through a hurricane, then taught the kids a creative way to write a poem. They were fascinated. Apparently they do the worksheet thing every day while the teacher sits at her computer doing her own thing, and as long as they don't cause her any discipline problems they're promised As at the end of the semester.

One girl wasn't even in the class, she was just hanging out in there since the counselors put her and a couple of other regular history students into an otherwise AP class and she was bored because instead of teaching everybody AP, which this girl said she was interested in, the teacher told the regular students to stay quiet and read the chapters in the book while she taught the more advanced students AP material.

I was disgusted. Some days I really hate some of my coworkers.

One thing I love about teaching is how much you learn while you're trying to make them learn. While I was reading Animal Farm to the kids today (that's right - I have to read TO the 16 year olds or they won't do it) I noticed how much the pigs' assertion that Jones would come back if the animals didn't do what they said was like Bush's constant reminder of the fact that we live in a "post 9/11 world" and that Napoleon's need to blame Snowball for the destruction of the windmill was like Bush's campaign against Saddam Hussein. So I told the kids about it and how they shouldn't trust politicians.

Then I told them not to trust me either because you can't trust anybody. Then they all scratched their heads and passed out from the confusion.

This morning I had my first fight break up. Two girls in my homeroom who used to be best friends "got down" because "Joana" told "Lucia"'s parents where she was when Lucia ran away from home to live with a boyfriend who beat her. Lucia is not happy she was betrayed and in the scuffle ripped two of Joana's fingernails off. It was gross. She was bleeding all over the floor. But Joana poked her in the eye so they both came off in a bad way.

I grabbed Joana and held her back but since I only have two hands and one body I couldn't pull them apart as my homeroom students stood and watched and ignored my pleas for help, probably because they were afraid of getting hit, or maybe because in the words of one kid they were "Hoping some clothes would come off". Thanks, kids. Fortunately a teacher's aid heard the commotion and ran in to help me separate them, but not before Joana backhanded me in the jaw twice by accident. Rumors of my valiant heroics have already begun to circulate.

My boxing skills didn't really come in as handy as I hoped, unless you count my ability to take a backhand to the face. Fortunately there's no bruising because...

It's prom night. I never miss prom night. Fancy dress and free food - what more do you need? This will be the first year I go stag. I'll be taking yearbook pictures all night which is actually a lot of fun because you have to be really secretive about it. If they see you coming they pose and look stupid, but if you sneak up on them you can get some really great shots.

As soon as the school day is over I have to run home, shower, get pretty and jaunt off to the science center. It means so much to the kids when you show up at stuff like this and they always act shocked that you can dress yourself. That makes sense since my daily wardrobe at school is jeans and a T-shirt and a frizzy mop of hair shadowing my makeupless face.

Just another day in South Central.


  1. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to show up and put in a half-assed performance and get paid the same as someone who goes above and beyond?

    It's why the terrorists hate us.

  2. As good a teacher as it sounds like you are. I really hope the screenwriting thing takes you away from this.

    just sit quietly and get a's, I am now depressed.


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