Monday, September 28, 2009

Still Not Dead Inside...

It's now the fourth week of school. I am sorry I haven't blogged yet -- I've been meaning to. I am finding it harder to get everything done now that I've got two kids to take care of. I'm not complaining; my kids are amazing and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. But they are tiring!

At any rate, not too much has changed at school since I was last here. I'm teaching seniors this year for the first time, and I really like them. I have three senior classes and two junior classes.

The seniors are great in many ways, but they also really piss me off. They all say they are going to college next year. So I figure it's my job to make sure they are as ready as possible. There are some things that they are just not going to be prepared for, but at least I can make sure they can write a basic five paragraph essay, for example.

I know I'm not dead inside, because I still really care about the many ridiculous things my students do. They all come to class late, for instance. This drives me crazy. I spend all class period taking attendance, because as soon as it gets submitted, another kid strolls in.

And my students complain like nothing I've ever seen. The seniors seem to believe that they've done enormous amounts of work these last few years, and that now that it's their last year, they should just get to sit around and text their friends.

They keep getting upset with me, because they say I'm too hard on them. I try to explain to them that when they go to college next year, they'll be sitting next to students from suburban schools and top city schools like Walter Payton College Prep. And kids from those schools don't come to class late, sleep in class, or complain about having to do any work. Furthermore, those students are not bitching to the professor about how hard the work is, or begging to read aloud. I tell them, "In college, if you ask to read a text aloud, the professor will wonder what is wrong with you, and how in the world you got there."

I don't want to be mean to them, I just want them to understand that they are no where near finished. They are just getting started.

Every Thanksgiving, students come back to my high school to visit. Often, many of those students have realized that they are not in any way prepared for college level work, and if they haven't dropped out yet, they will be Christmas. It's depressing.

I can't help but feel culpable. We all tell these kids they can go anywhere and do anything, and I wish it were true. But it's not, really. And our kids get into good schools. Each year several of our kids get in to University of Illinois. None of our kids has to pay for college. And only a handful make it through their freshman year.

In addition to my seniors, I've got two junior classes. One is an inclusion class, which means there are a few special ed kids enrolled in the class. I actually have a special ed teacher in the classroom with me. We are always reminded that those teachers are fully certified and we are to consider them team teachers. So I asked this teacher if she would like to team teach. She said that she was just there to observe and I should just "do my thing." She then said I needed to call the mother of one of the special ed students. The way it works with those students is that I don't even have a list of their names. They aren't on my rosters. So I really don't see how I should be the one to call home. I have enough mothers to call.

The worst part of this year is that I have a tenth period, which runs from 3:00 to 3:46 pm. There are only three teachers with tenth periods in the whole school. Everyone hates tenth period. Being here that late is awful.

Now I understand that most people have to work until after 4. But when you are a CPS teacher, one of the few perks you get is getting home by 4. Hideo goes to bed at 6, so this means I hardly get to spend any time with him in the evenings.

And the students in that class are horrific. It's the junior cosmetology girls. They are pretty sure they are the coolest girls in school, since they are in the cosmetology program. But they don't really want to do hair, they just want to braid hair. They never actually pass the cosmetology licensing exam, and they don't plan on going to college. They are just in school to pass the time until they can start braiding hair without a license.

So they do not want to discuss literature. They come in super late, if at all. They have incredibly rude attitudes. I have found that so far, it seems to work best if I talk to them as little as possible. I write the assignment on the board, and a few of them do it.

Last week, they were a bit better, so perhaps it will be ok in the end. I'm not feeling too optimistic about it.

Otherwise, there was a pot bust in the third floor women's bathroom earlier today. So that's pretty exciting. I'm anxious to find out if any of my students are now suspended as a result.

And I've only had to play the dumb white girl card a couple of times so far. I had to this morning -- I went to ask the engineers about more desks for my classroom. I've asked for more desks several times. Apparently they brought more desks last week, but I was not in my room at the time. So they didn't deliver the desks.

I went this morning to ask about it, and the engineer put me in my uppity white girl place for questioning why the desks weren't delivered. It's my fault for not informing him that another teacher shared that room. And for not telling him my schedule. I love doing the whole, "I'm so sorry. I should have told you that. I don't know what I was thinking. Please accept my apology for not communicating that to you." Super fun times.

OK, that's enough for now. It's lunch time. I am going to try to blog weekly at least. Have many big ideas for this year. Let's see how it goes!

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