Getting Out the Door
Alarm went off. Much cussing ensued. I stumbled into the living room, running channels for 20 minutes, to see if we were having a Noah's-Gotta-Build-An-Ark delay for school. No such luck. More cussing ensued.
Good hairday achieved, clothes located, gym bag in hand...I got in my car to head to school. Relatively close to on-time.
Got to the parking lot exit gate and realized that I forgot my copy of Of Mice & Men...with my notes as to which class is on what page. Dammit. Turned around to go back and get it.
Left parking lot for real. No longer so close to on-time.
Got into MickeyD's line with HighMaintenanceCustomer 2 cars ahead. Saw my arrival time getting later by the second.
Left MickeyD's...hauling Elantrabutt for Uberschool.
Arrived at Uberschool. Yay!
Class starts. I have 12 kids in attendance. While I check roll and wait for the others, I make sure to give the partyline speech about "be sure and have your i.d. AROUND your NECK...don't give the administration any reason to give you a hard time in the hall...just play their game"
In the middle of checking roll, through my SupersonicTeacherRightEar, I hear "blah blah blah...motherf----r...blah". I glare at Senor PottyMouth...he has the NERVE to say "WHAT!" I said, "It is only 7:36 in the morning...and you're busting out with the profanity. Can you please give it a rest?" His response, *eyeroll* "Whatever."
Still checking roll...and i.d.s...and through my SupersonicTeacherLeftEar...I hear "and that n------ said blah blah blah". I glare at SpazmoKid with my LaserbeamEyeballs, and say "Spazmo, what is wrong with you? Did you forget the n-word doesn't get used in here?" Spazmo looks appropriately repentant, and says, "Sorry, miss."
After passing out the novels, I'm waiting for them to open the books AND shut up (yes, at the same time...I know, I'm a meanie)...and Senor PottyMouth drops the f-bomb AGAIN!
I have a mini-aneurysm.."Senor PottyMouth, come here."
We had a mini-convo about the fact that I don't write a lot of referrals...which is lucky for him...because otherwise he'd have two by now. I told him to get a filter for the mouth...and watch it, or I was going to write my 2nd referral for the semester. Message received. :)
The remainder of 5th period was spent barreling through Of Mice and Men. We were pretty efficient with how quickly we killed off Curley's wife and Lennie.
SpazmoKid was, ironically, highly amused by Lennie "trippin" at seeing his dead Aunt Clara and the Big Rabbit. (If I had to pick one kid I could see talking to a gigantic rabbit...it'd definitely be SpazmoKid!)
Second verse, similar to the first...except we only killed off Curley's wife. (We were behind due to the Fatal Choices accident scene last class period...so we did pretty well.)
AHHHH Conference period! I was SO productive, I scared myself. I got most of my timeline for the junior theme hammered out. Yay, me!
I also had a kid from last year wander in...turns out he needed to talk about a friend committing suicide over spring break. I am often grateful that I can read nonverbals so well...it helped me tune in to what he wasn't sharing (the guilt, the anger) and talk to him about it. He really opened up, and before he left, he thanked me and told me that he knew I'd be good to talk to about this. (That right there...that moment...is why I do this.)
During passing period, Buggy stopped by on his way to gymnastics. Turns out he not only had a "wreck" over break (CrazyBrother was driving the motorcycle. Badly.) but also got into a fight with a guy that was "looking at him". Apparently, he held his own. He didn't have a mark on him, save for some red knuckles. Although I would love for him to stop fighting altogether, I guess I'm going to have to take heart that "at least it wasn't at school, Miss" and go from there.
I'm currently on the hunt for a gymnastics camp to send Buggy to this summer. He desperately needs an out-of-neighborhood experience to encourage him to get through this next year of school...and get the hell out of Dodge!
Talking about Race
Why is it that it takes several times teaching a lesson before you finally hit paydirt? It took discussing Curley's wife's racist treatment of Crooks FOUR TIMES (in FOUR different classes) before I felt that I handled it even close to how I wanted to.
I am not one that shies away from talking about race...I absolutely love talking to people and getting their perspective on their experience.
Through these conversations, over the years, I have been able to come to terms with what white privilege is, and how I benefit from it...even though I never asked for it.
I have facilitated diversity programs of all shapes and sizes in every job I have held...yet I still felt like I was walking on eggshells discussing Curley's wife threatening Crooks with lynching.
It absolutely horrifies me that people that looked like me (white women) would wield that power as if it was their right.
I guess, ultimately, it was hard for me to find my way far enough past my gut reaction and my own internal noise to discuss it adequately until I had attempted it several times.
I so desperately want my students to know that this ugliness is part of our past...for better or worse...and it's all in vain if we shove it under the rug. We need to look at it, painful as it may be, and learn from it. Learn not to perpetuate it...learn to stamp out any form of it -- however harmless the current form might seem...and learn that we may have come a long way -- but we still have a long way to go.
All Things Considered
Today has served to reaffirm my decision to put off finding an administrative job, and stay in the classrom for now. I'm not ready to trade my days being full of kiddo-interaction for days full of adult-interaction and bureaucracy...not yet.