chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Great Quote

Posted by Jason on January 24, 2009

“An elementary school music teacher is kind of like an animal lover working in a slaughterhouse…”

-Some dude on NPR


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Fire Drill in the Rain?

Posted by Jason on December 12, 2008

We had fire drill today and it started to sprinkle a very very little bit on us. I actually hoped it would downpour, just to see what would happen with 1200 students that had to stay outside because of a fire drill. 

That shows you how spiteful I am toward my students right now: I would get soaked to the bone and become even more sick just to watch them suffer a little bit. Besides, I had a jacket with a hood on. =)



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So frustrated…

Posted by Jason on December 11, 2008

It’s been a rough two days in the teaching world of this not-so-illustrious author. I’m really frustrated and don’t feel like writing anything of substance… Any attempt at writing something would betray my major pissed-off-ness at my young students. Some days I feel like teaching them how to use a shovel or how to say, “You want fries with that?” is more useful and would be much easier than what I’m trying to do with them.

A former student who moved away to a rich part of town over summer came back to our little refugee camp of a neighborhood. Her mom married a rich white guy and 4 months later they divorced. The poor girl had a pretty good outlook on it, but she really didn’t like where she was living. Said it was “too white.” It was good to see her, since she’s a sweetie (despite the fact that she told me to fuck off last year in a fit of rage). She’s actually one of my better students…

Sometimes I think we should follow the European style of education, where students must pass a test to get into higher levels of scholarship. The American notion that everyone can succeed and that everyone can go to college is silly. There are always going to be poor people, and there are always going to be stupid people. Why try to make everyone equal when they are not and never will be? The Europeans generally give tests at certain grade levels, and how well you do on these tests determines whether or not you will go to Trade School, or go to University, etc. 

Americans are so against this “tracking,” and have made it illegal to do in schools. However, tracking happens anyway because schools mandate that there be different levels available to all kids. The smart kids hop on the AP/IB track. Middle of the road kids generally do “College Prep” work in high school. The dumb kids are in remedial. Now, I agree that students should be met at their level in order to bring them up. However, when does that stop? Do we have remediated college programs that still get the student the same degree as someone who was excellent? 

I don’t know, but I’d like to leave you with a quote from a fellow teacher:

“I see a shovel and an orange vest somewhere in that boy’s future…”

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The Crap I Have to Put Up With…

Posted by Jason on December 10, 2008

So today is the last day I will have my Trimester 1 students here at my ghetto little middle school. I told students this was the last day they had to finish their projects, since this is the last day they have me.

“YES!!!” one girl exclaims.

“Thank God…” someone else pipes up loudly.

“Finally! I’m so bored.”

“Good! This class sucks!”

No joke, these are some of the things students have said out loud today. I didn’t really retort back until 8th period, when I was sick of it. I actually told some of the kids I felt the same way and that I was sick and tired of them being so rude. Not like it taught them anything, but at least I stood up for myself? I’m questioning what good that little lecture has done. Not much, I’m guessing.

I don’t know why our district decided to make this trimester 15 weeks, the next one 11 weeks, and the next one 10 weeks. It’s pretty dumb, methinks. It’s put a big strain on how well I’ve managed to put up with some of these little buggers. Anyway, that’s a little bit of insight into the crap you put up with at an inner-city school on a daily basis. It might sound like I’m begging sympathy for getting treated like crap at work, but really I can’t knock it too much. It’s my job to put up with this stuff. It’s the school I’ve chosen to work at for the past 3 years. I get an ok salary and good benefits… It’s all good, most of the time.

Cmon, Christmas Break!!!

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Gum-chewers BEWARE!!!

Posted by Jason on December 4, 2008

I’m so cool that I can catch gum-chewers in my class without even looking at them. 

Today in the beginning of second period, I saw the tell-tale jaw movement in the wall mirror, but didn’t jump on it right away. I have class. I kept teaching. 

“And the reason that questioning is so important in an interview is that Lucy has to spit out her gum…” BAM! Didn’t miss a beat. The class was stunned and then everyone laughed as the girl sheepishly got up from her seat to spit her gum out.

“Shut up Allissa, you’re chewing gu…” she trailed off, not wanting to incriminate her friend. I took note but did not jump on this, either. I went about my business as usual. A couple minutes later, with my back to Allissa, I boom out, “Allissa! Gum! Trash!” Another one bites the dust…

That’s not difficult to do, but my students think I’m a freaking magician. But here’s where I actually impressed myself today:

Two boys were talking to Ericka (she sits next to Lucy and Allissa) and she had her back to me. They were off task so I ambled over there to see what they were doing. I smelled something minty, and decided to take a shot in the dark.

“Hmm it still smells like gum over here. That means Ericka should probably spit hers out, too.” The smile on her face betrayed that she was busted. I looked up at Christian, who was grinning ear to ear. I was going to tell him that I didn’t even know Ericka had gum, and then he quickly wiped the smile off of his face when he saw me looking at him. “That means you have gum, too, Christian.” He walks across the room to the trash can and leans over to spit his gum out. He starts walking back with that busted smile. “Spit it all out, dude…” He turned around and got rid of the last of his gum. Now only Daniel was left. “When are you gonna spit yours out, Danny?” 

“CRAP!” he exclaimed. “I thought I had you!” He stomped over to the trash and added a 5th piece of gum to the pile. 

I never saw any of the last 3 students with gum in their mouths, but I nailed em! Elementary, my dear Watson. You would think that as a teacher, my excitement comes from my students’ “Aha!” moments or from seeing underprivileged kids reading the subtitles out loud while watching an opera.

No: the high point of my day is nailing 3 kids for gum without even looking.

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Proud of Your Kids? What if you weren’t?

Posted by Jason on December 2, 2008

I had a conversation with a young man in my class today. The students will be recording radio interviews on their computers about important events in their lives, similar to the StoryCorps project that gave me the idea. I asked this student, who dresses and acts like a thug, if he thought his parents were proud of him. He shrugged and said he didn’t know, so I asked if he could remember if his parents ever told him they were proud of him. He said no.

After my heart broke for this kid, I got to thinking… I’m going to have kids some day, and I foresee that I’ll be a good parent. Does anybody ever plan to be a bad parent? In our visions of the future, we see our kids doing wonderful things and succeeding because that’s what we’ve done in our own lives. Or maybe we see our children becoming productive members of society only after we drill it into them. Perhaps it’ll end up a combination of both.

But what will happen if my child doesn’t do anything of which I can be proud? What will I do? I’m not talking about disappointments that come up: Lord knows I’ve disappointed my parents plenty, but the general attitude they have toward me is pride. Is it possible for a good parent to raise a child who does not merit that parent’s pride? 

Gosh, I’m soooo not ready for children yet.

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