I have already completed the first three weeks of school. I’m exhausted most of the time but I feel like things are pretty under control with the exception of a few “incidences”. You know what I mean:teenagers behaving like teenagers. (Unpredictable, self-centered, endearing, funny, high maintenance, supportive, caring, rascally, obtuse, boisterous, thoughtful, hardworking, intelligent, and frequently crazy.) Perhaps hormones and their brains not being fully developed may be a contributing factor to their behavior.
I have one kid “Lexi” who never speaks. I marked her absent the first day until a sweet student came up to me and said, “Lexi is present but she never speaks”. What? A kid in an English class never speaks. I have never heard of such a thing. “Lexi” has no special educational needs noted in her personal file and no parent or guardian has contacted me. “Lexi” seems perfectly normal with the exception she won’t speak…or will she? “Lexi” has attended my English class for three weeks not uttering a word unless urged and then maybe a grunt or nodding of the her head but beyond that one would swear this kid is never going to speak.
Turns out “Lexi” speaks. It is a miracle. If she doesn’t want to do something “Lexi” actually finds the words to speak.
Wow. Imagine sitting in a classroom day after day pretending that you do not have the ability to speak and every one in your life gives you a pass to never speak. It is genius. “Lexi” is a genius.
Last week I began my adventure with a bunch of ninth and tenth grade students. And when I say “bunch” I mean one hundred and eighty teenagers. Of course I do not teach them all at once that would be ridiculous. So as a favor to teachers we only instruct approximately 36 teenagers in 55 minute class intervals five class periods a day. This oughta be a snap right?
I began sharing a book with my students entitled The Hunger Games and how I loved Katniss Everdean the female protagonist. Just when I was about to share more about this novel this freshmen kid says, “Get over it.”
“Huh? What did you say?” (I really didn’t think a student the first week of school would be so bold.)
“Get over it,” muttered a not so confident freshmen girl.
“Oh, you did say, ‘Get over it’. Well you have me confused with another person because in this room we are going to work on being a supportive community.”
And then I turned to the class and said, “If she has the courage to be rude to me imagine how she will treat you. The class was silent. A brave freshmen attempted to be rude and It became clear immediately I had bionic hearing and I wasn’t going to let “snarky” energy seep into the chemistry of our class community. I’m not sure why that student chose to be rude and there is a good chance she doesn’t know why she was rude either but her error in judgement helped this class get to know my expectations of how this classroom community can thrive academically.
Only 175 school days to go.
I remember when Back to School happened in September, you know right after Labor Day. See it worked out perfectly. We began the school year right after Labor Day celebrations which clearly indicated summer was over. Bummer. But now the people in charge have decided that the school year needs to begin earlier. How much earlier you ask? Well I began the new school year yesterday. EGADS!
That’s right I began August 12th, 2013. Can you believe that? Why not suck all the fun out of summer. I think it is a conspiracy to destroy childhood memories and replace it with a feeling of despair and angst which is a perfect way to begin a school year.
You know the real reason why we are beginning the school year so much earlier? The bottom line is: TESTING. That’s right this all has to do with TESTING (cuz we know how important test taking is in the real world). So if students attend school two or three weeks sooner they will have more time in the classroom prior to taking the state standardized exams. Unfortunately the state of California’s test scores have dropped. How can that be when instruction has begun so much earlier? I have a theory. As I review my class rosters it is painfully apparent that I am expected to instruct my students in a meaningful and purposeful manner aligning my instruction to the Core Standards but there is one glitch: class size.
I have over 175 students enrolled in my English classes and that is on average about 37 teenagers every hour. How can I realistically instruct in a meaningful manner as well as provide rigor to prepare them for higher thinking? How will I get to know them by name? Listen I have taught for over 20 years and I just don’t think my brain can handle 180 more names. I’m at my “name limit”!
Who is Huma Abedin? Some might say she’s a saint. Others might whisper she should kick her hubby, Anthony Weiner, to the curb after the recent revelations that even after leaving Congress Mr. Weiner could not stop himself from sexting. If you haven’t caught her public statement click and view: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWI_0Iqe-Lk
I don’t know how it happened but I came into possession of Huma Abedin’s first draft prior to going public regarding her husband’s sexting shenanigans.
Draft #1: Hi, good evening um. As many of you…who have um followed this campaign, uh I’ve spent a good deal out on the campaign trail. Um churches, and street fairs, parades…um but this is the first time I’ve spoken at a press conference and you’ll have to bear with me cuz I’m very nervous…And I wrote down what I wanted to say. (Clear throat)
My husband is a dick weed asshole fuck. Vote for him for Mayor of New York.
Xoxo, Mrs. Danger
Draft #2: Hi, good evening um. As many of you…who have um followed this campaign, uh I’ve spent a good deal out on the campaign trail. Um blah, blah, blah, you’ll have to bear with me cuz I’m very nervous…And I wrote down what I wanted to say. (Clear throat)
My husband is a dick weed asshole fuck. This schmuck is my husband. Yes I married him. And Yes it took a lot of work and a shit load of therapy to get to a place where I can forgive him. Anthony aka “Carlos Danger” has made some horrible mistakes beginning with the name “Carlos Danger” and ending with his proclivity to take photos of his pecker.
Anthony Weiner is a great man. And I am standing by his side cuz I am damaged and seek positions of power. Why else would I accept his dick weed asshole fuck’s behavior? Anthony Weiner will make a fabulous Mayor of New York! And I’ll be a fabulous Mrs. Mayor of New York and then maybe the White House!
Come on America its not like he had sex with other women…seriously. I’m totally cool with this and you should be too. I mean if I can get over it while living in my 3.3 million dollar Manhattan apartment then America you can get over it too. Vote for Anthony Weiner for Mayor.
Xoxo, Mrs. Dick Weed Asshole Fuck