why we gotta hate people, ms?
i've got the best and the worst in my third period. this class is filled to the brim, and with the personality and energy of my students it's practically boiling over. the good thing about this is that we have lots of "teachable moments" and there is general enthusing at times. the bad aspect is that I'm trying to tame a class of monkeys, monkeys who are enabled by their parents and think of themselves as gods. they are teenagers at their best and worst.
take today for example. we're discussing immigration in the late 1800s. nativism is introduced and someone says something about the kkk. "but ms," another kid asks, "how come they can wear their hats and their sheets? they can't do that. like, how we can't wear gang colors here." ahh, a teachable moment. rules vs. laws and civil liberties are discussed. it's a good moment. then we move on in our discussion of immigration.
"i think they should build a great wall of america. mexicans just need to stay out," a kid pipes up. these kids are espousing racist rhetoric and, once again, conveying the gap between mexican american vs. mexican mexican (to use my student's language). they don't use words like wetback but the sentiment is the same. a conversation ensues between the students about immigration. "how can you hate mexicans when you are one?" "i'm not mexican, i don't know nobody in mexico" "yeah but you used to be a real mexican at one point" until one kid resorts to outright racist rhetoric and i stop the conversation. it's frustrating because my blood is boiling but i'm trying to be a good teacher and let the kids talk it out, hoping someone will learn something about tolerance. i'm trying to use clever guiding questions but after the conversation i feel depressed and frustrated.
anyway, the class is always teetering on "out of control" because they won't stop fucking shouting things out or asking about shit. most of it is filtered but sometimes, and i'm not proud of this, i stop what we're doing and say with a sigh, "alright third period. we're going to stop for one minute to talk about this. because i know you need to get it out and i'd rather just talk about it once and for all." this is what birthed our conversation about immigration. i can't tell if i'm caving in or going with the flow. is my class a mess or just messy?