Thursday, November 17, 2005

Backsliding and Maybe a Grin.

A long one. Don't say I didn't warn ya.

To answer your question, Mr. Cofer, I'll be at Le Foreignareo as well. And if you are tempted to stay the entire weekend, Mr. Dixon shall be flying in for the annual turkey massacre on the 19th. That is, he arrives on the 19th; the slaughter and fiest to come on the traditional final Thursday of the month. He has requested we go drinking at Big River. How can anyone say no to that? Shut up, poor people. Shut up, alcoholics. I'm talking about people with money and not struggling with addiction, so piss off.

If you didn't know already, my Great Uncle Lester died a couple weeks ago from injuries sustained in a car crash. Specifically, his 96 year old spine was broken at the neck. It doesn't suck so much that he's gone. He was 96 for fuck's sake and a pretty healthy dose of leukemia. His doctors said something else was gona get him first. But a car crash? That's some bullshit. But like I said, I'm not so upset that I'll never see him again, or that I never got to say goodbye, or that we didn't get to go to a hockey game like we had planned. I'm upset because I couldn't go to the funeral.

I swear, every damn semester, it's like my profs. get together and try to find the worst possible moments to ask the most of me. I can understand the end of the semester, but 2 weeks before Thanksgiving? For everything? I think not. Bah. I think it's just frustration talking. Forgiv-inus ah-prease. I can feel myself backsliding into the same shitty mood I was in a year ago. That's bad news, people. I'm starting to have trouble focusing on schoolwork, or just about anything for that matter. My most lucid moments come at CMS when I'm trying to bludgeon some knowledge into the heads of 13-15 year olds.

I swear, the angrier I get with the kids in 1st block, the nicer I am to the kids in 2nd. Those first block kids just don't want to learn a fucking thing...and yet, they somehow magically expect to become billionaire basketball players and rappers. Rappers... I've got nothing against Rap music, except to say that I don't like most of it. Although last weekend, I wound up at some random party in Germantown with Rhys with a couple guys freestyling over a pretty amateur-sounding beat, and it was actually quite good. But these kids, they just don't have the damn thinking skills necessary to rap about the Handi Snacks their mommy packed in their lunch.

There are two boys in 2nd block who are close friends. How close are they, you ask? They're so close they share the same thoughts; at least that's what their History homework reveals upon cursory observation. Now, I'm in Ms. Jones Pre-Algebra class and when I saw Dominique writing something that didn't appear to have any numbers involved, I leaned over and noticed it was History. Apparently, last Wednesday, whoever the History teacher is, gave them a reading assignment to do for homework and to answer some questions. Curious and evil space monkey that I am, I of course took the paper, told him to put his mind on the abstract concepts of mathematics, and ran my eyes across the paper. Oh, and how nonplussed I was to find Patrick's name at the top of the page.

You gota love a cheater. Hell we've all done it at some point or another. Don't get me wrong, I dont' like it. But let's be honest folks. If you're gona do something wrong, at least have the gumption to do it right. Classic example: "What was one method the British used to bring Colonials to their side?" "They used propaganda," is an acceptable answer, even if it falls well short of eloquence. Hell, these are 8th graders, why do I expect Middlemarch? But when you have two papers, with the exact same words, a sentence like, "they used proper gandas," just sticks out like...well...a thing that sticks out. You can imagine their embarrassment when I showed Ms. Jones the paper. We got a good giggle out of it and she was going to send them off to ISS, but I managed to get her to let it slide and I'd talk to them about it after class. I just told them that 2nd block was for Math and if they wanted to work on History, they'd better do it on the days I wasn't around, because I may not seem like much, but I have strange and mysterious powers.

In 1st block, most of the kids groan and slump helplessly when I come to help them out. Most of them don't raise their hands any more when they have a question. Oh! How these powers of mine are mystical and fantastic! I can tell from their posture, their silence, and their empty stares that they are stuck. They need my help, they're just too dumb to ask for it. So I go over and they pretend not to see me. They ask for Ms. Jones. She'll "help" them by telling them what to do; give them the answer. FUCK THAT NOISE! They loathe me for it, and I eat that shit up. Yeah, I could just hand them the answers, but that doesn't help, it teaches them to do as they are told. And the shouldn't do as their told! They just need to know how to act irresponsibly responsibly. I set myself as your example. But you know me, they don't. So, the more they resist, the harder I push. And oh, how I push. "What are you thinking? Why did you do that? Gime the reasons. I DEMAND YOUR REASONS!" Show me you've got brains people and the hamster hasn't keeled over. Sometimes it's a fight, but they get it done. A few of them have even figured out that if they learn it, when I come by and look at their screens they can look up at me and say, "No help needed here.” The most satisfying part of this week was Sam Jackson (I shit you not, but sadly his middle name is Jefferson...yeah, I asked) didn't even look away from his screen. He just extended his arm and gave me the fuck-off-shooing motion with his hand and said, the one thing I'd been waiting for since my first day:

"Hold on. Thinking..."

I’m the fuck outa here.


At 1:53 AM, Anonymous David Moore said...

see, that was my problem with the whole teaching jag. I could never get down to the simple ascetic pleasure of a well-earned "fuck-off" hand motion. I was too wrapped up with being a student to be a teacher. I was looking for my vivtories, not theirs. And I want to be liked, whereas you seem to thrive on them loathing your presence for all the right reasons. I guess what I am getting to is....I hate to say it, Chuck, but I think you might be a teacher.

Congratulations and Condolences (whatever is appropriate to your current mood)

At 2:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you sound like an amazing teacher.
good job chuckles


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