now that i am becoming a permanent fixture in the classroom the students are starting to open up to me. this is both much to my excitement and my chagrin.
while i feel it is nice to be able to help my students some of the information i am hearing is making my head spin and challenging my faith in the human race (and public education).
a little background: ALL my students failed last year. they are typical city kids and they fit pretty much any stereotype you can think of. they use slang that urban dictionary does not even define. to say i am out of my element is an understatement. yet, they bring me joy (when i am not sending them down to be suspended).
a few of the quotes that really brought happy to my week where:
“what do you think Happened to all those people in Egypt, like where did they go?” mind you i teach math. i was helping this student with an equation when he looked at me dead serious and asked. I was really confused what he meant and through talking to him i learned that he thought that Egypt had just been abandoned when the ancient civilization ended. I had to explain to him that they have cities just like ours there and it is really need because in the back ground you can see the pyramids like you can see mountains in some US cities.
at the end of class i was talking to the same student when he told me he needed to leave the classroom to go round up his posse to see if they were walking home or taking the bus as his ‘hood is not safe and he could get raped if he walked alone. [mind you thug and i ran though his neighborhood quite a few times while we were marathon training. He hold me people like me should not be in his neighborhood, its not safe.
Picture vs Pitcher
i have a few autistic children throughout the day. having lived with k$ for almost 9 years i know a lot about how literal they are and how you have to be very careful with how you word things. while one student was working on his project with a parapro (his normal helper is out this week). The helper told him to draw a pi’ture. The student obliging drew a picture of a drink pitcher. He came up to me so confused and asked if he was doing it right and why he had to draw a pitcher for his project. It took me a second before i chuckled to myself and told him he needed to draw a picture not a pitcher. completely relieved he walked back to his seat.
while passing out papers to the glass one of the girls pulled a hair off my sweater. i lose my hair all the time and now that it is long its very visible. after scanning my hair the student told me i should get blue magic. to which one of the other students shouted “you dummy she’s white”. i, being ever so slightly waspy, had no idea about this blue magic and was intrigued, i also did not want to make her feel bad. after getting on google and seeing what exactly blue magic is i will not be putting it in my hair… and i am not unsure if she was doing it to be nice or mean.
While waiting for all my students to show up to detention a student (who i do not have in class) comes up to me and asks if we are going to have snacks. I tell him no and he gets a sneaky little smile and says “come on tell the truth”.
I look at him and tell him we do not have snacks because i am holding detention and we are not doing SOL tutoring (what the snacks are for). He then asks me if i am lying i giggle and say no. He then asks me to swear upon the Bible. I tell him that i swear perhaps two quickly because he looks at me sideways and says “ARE YOU AN ATHEIST?” i giggle again and say no.
He says i don’t believe you and went to ask my cooperating teacher. she tells him we wont have snacks and as he exits the room he says “i guess you are good people”
while teaching the whole class i was trying to make the point that when we graph points it is very important where we place the point on the coordinate plane. The students were not understanding and just putting the points in the “area” of the correct coordinates. To make the point that exact is important i called on a student and asked if the 2008 air jordans are the same as the 2009 jordans because the are only a year apart. (to tell the truth i could not pick out a pair of jordans unless i saw the little symbol)
the student i called on was appalled that i would even try and compare one years jordans to another and my point was made. As i was attempting to move on one girl (the same one who my first week told me “lady you aint my teacher so don’t look at me” raised her hand and said “Ms. H how you know about jordans? i thought you was fancy!” Then another student shouted out “you wear jordans Ms. H?” i explained that while i do know what jordans are i do not wear them.
they were shocked!