Saturday, September 24, 2005

muse then ramble

at a time when the new texas health books pose abstinence as the sole form of birth control and advise students to take a nap rather than engage in sexual endeavors, pregnancy is spreading like a virus around good ole Madhatter High. i've now counted eight girls from my first year who are pregnant. and that's merely from MY classes. not to say that a plethora of girls are pregnant, maybe it's just MY old kids. was it something i said?

my english teaching co-worker made fun of my small vocabulary the other day. she's right. my vocab used to be hella big, like really really big, and now it's small, like really really small. fo sho. i'm going to stop grading papers and start reading more.

i gave five detentions the other day. i feel torn about the detention issue, being that it's pretty juvenile for a junior but it's a half-step between a warning and a referral. at my school, you can't write too many referrals or you lose status. i only send referrals when a kid has threatened another kid or just won't stop doing something that's pissing me off. sometimes when you send a referral they send the kid back with a note that says, "Did you contact the parent?," which really helps maintain the power relationship between you and the student. anyway, the detention situation has brought to light a new annoying response. i have lots of vocal boys in my classes this year. i've had to talk to one kid about the sexually harassing remarks he directed at me because he was creeping my shit out. a few other boys in another class just love to retort to my warning of detention with "do you promise? we get to eat with you? okay," and so on. i thought i'd squashed that comeback until it popped up in another class. yet again, "okay, is it a date?" what the fuck? it's not like i'm the sexy teacher, bent over in front of the class or wearing a low-cut shirt. i mean, i can see the humor in the joke but it's still inappropriate. and it's spreading. i guess i'm going to have pull out my can of BITCH in order to put this under wraps. i'm really too nice, albeit a bit sarcastic, and my students have informed me time and time again that my niceness is both a good and bad thing. or, shall i say, it's beneficial yet detrimental?

p.s. teaching about the federalist and democratic-republican parties is boring. i mean, i can get into it because i'm a history geek but, honestly, i feel compassion for my students. i'm so glad we're moving on...toward the civil war and beyond...

Monday, September 19, 2005

mutiny

seriously, my kids are freaking out. "man, you trippin ms!" "ms, why you workin us so hard?" let me make it clear that i'm not a slave driver. it's laughable, really. i simply give them something to read and expect them to show their comprehension through notes or hand-outs or journals. it's not rocket science.

"high school is getting harder and harder," my third period students argued today. my eyes grew round and my mouth dropped. are you fucking kidding me? yeah, note taking is really difficult. the fact that my regular kids feel like i'm "trippin" conveys the lack of rigor in "regular" classrooms. rigor, though, can be very difficult when your kids don't care if they pass (summer school rocks) and you're held accountable for your passing rate. i don't blame teachers entirely. the system is fucked.

so tomorrow i'm going to lecture so that my little cupcakes can get a break from reading. today two of my less-than-literate boys stopped twenty minutes into the period and shook their heads. "my brain hurts ms," one said. "i gotta stop." "tony, your brain is like a muscle. you have to work it. you know how it's really difficult to lift weights in the beginning but your muscles grow stronger? that's how your mind works. it's difficult for you to read for a long time because you never do. but by the end of the year, this will be a piece of cake." i know i basically insinuated that the brain is a muscle but i don't care. it was good comeback and i seemed to spark hope in his exhausted mind.