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Year 2 Day 3-give me your illiterate, your delinquent, and your stoned masses.

by admin on August 23rd, 2004

WOW the first day is almost over. I made it to lunchtime. I’m seriously exhausted. It’s amazing how much work takes out of you after you’ve been work free for 3 months. It was weird to teach art again. It’s been 7 years since I actually itaughti it. Funny, I kind of remember how to do it. I actually lectured for the first time in awhile, where I actually KNEW the subject I was talking about. Go figure. This is my 8th year teaching, and the first time I have mainly the classes that I went to school to teach. I’ve taught a variety of subjects in the time I’ve been teaching, and very rarely was it straight art. I’ve had a few art classes in the time I’ve been here, but it was always a small number of kids who really didn’t want to be there, or were constantly ifinishingi projects from other classes.

I hate the iNo Child Left Behindi (NCLB) law immensely, but it kind of worked out for me in this case. Because I’m not ihighly qualifiedi to teach all the crap history and government classes they loaded on me in previous years, they had to stick me with a majority of classes in my field of expertise, which is art… so I have 3 art classes, and only 1 economics class, and 1 government class. I can deal with that.

One bad part of the NCLB law is they have to send this letter home to parents, saying in essence that, iyour child is in a class with a teacher who isn’t highly qualified to teach that subject.i It makes the teacher look like the idiot. What the letter should say is, iWe the administration made this teacher teach subjects out of his credential, even when he doesn’t want to, we’d like to apologize if you feel your kids are getting a raw deal.i

I’m learning to deal with it. If a kid, or parent wants to question me about the NCLB issue, I’ll just tell them. iWell if your kid hadn’t flunked out of the comprehensive high school, he’d still be getting taught by highly qualified teachers. Make it a goal, get your credits, and attitude back on track, then you can have those “qualified” teachers.i

The kids [so far] this year are typical. The new ones aren’t going to make any waves for a few weeks, until they get comfortable here. The ones I know from last year seem pretty well behaved for the first day. I did have problems with one kid though.

I had this student last year. He didn’t complete any assignments in the entire year for me, and he was in my class 5 of 6 sessions. He talked a lot, and he slept a lot. In other words he was useless. Today he actually did something, he shot spit wads. I thought most kids got over the whole spit wad shooting in 7th or 8th grade then I remembered that most of our kids mentally are living in the 5th grade, and I understood. Needless to say I had to confront the kid about it.

iMAN, seriously, are you gonna start shooting spit balls in my class on the first friggin’ day?i

The kid just looked around like he was trying to figure out who I was talking to.

iI’m talking to you ******, STOP shooting spit wads… throw the pen awayi

iWhat’er you talking about, I’m just writing. It’s my pen… I write with it.i

iDude don’t crap me, seriously, you haven’t written in 2 years… the last thing you do with a pen is write with it. Throw it away..i

The kid had no paper out. No book opened… plus I saw him do it. I wanted to shoot one at him. From where I’m sitting, I would be the only one who could hit him… he’d look at me, and I’d tell him the same thing.

iWhat? I was writing… I don’t know what you’re talking about.i

That was my only real problem today. The staff room is filled right now with teachers bitching about class sizes, new kids, this and that. I really try and stay away from it. I like most everyone I work with, but the few exceptions irritate me to the point of ruining my day. They take everything too seriously, or too personally. This is not the right place for the thin-skinned, or serious academic minded teacher.

We have people who are dead set on making this place just like a traditional high school. If the traditional high school worked for these kids, they’d still be there! I’ll say that about 600 times this year. Our principal harps constantly about MORE direct instruction (lecturing) He’s still learning about this type of system. He’s got about 4 years of teaching experience, and had class sizes you could count on 2 hands. What works for a group of 5 continuation school kids, doesn’t work for 12-20 of them. I’m not saying you can’t lecture the kids, but it had better be for a very short period of time, like once a week, or you’ll have them turn on you. We have a few teachers who lecture all the time, and honestly, you should hear the nastiness the kids say about them. They may be more disliked than I am.

I lectured on drawing for about 20 minutes this morning, and afterwards I heard a kid go,
imy head hurts… i. I was talking about drawing, not constitutional amendments.

After 3 months off my brain is still adjusting to having to work. I found myself losing my train of thought a few times today during my lecture. I had too much coffee this morning, and talked too fast, and found myself stalled to silence a few times thinking, iwhat was I about to say?i

Overall, today went well. I wasn’t as dysfunctional, or as angry as I thought I would be today. I’m liking to the desk situation better than tables, and I actually feel a little bit excited about teaching art. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

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