11/1 – Gave kids a writing prompt about some photos, one of which was Arlington cemetery. Most students came up with titles like “visiting my grandparents,” “sad times,” “dead”, etc. One young woman came up with the title “The Amazing Graveyard” – I said “yeah, the kind of place you want to throw a birthday party.” The class falls apart laughing.
11/5 – One student finished work module in resource room – ordered Chinese with teachers – ate full Chinese take out – goes to school lunch – two slices of pizza – then another kid doesn’t want his – she eats his – then comes into my room to ask me about my jar of peanut butter.
11/10 Career day. Talking about plumbing as a career for students –cost 100 dollars an hour to hire a plumber. Young woman says: “That’s why it’s great to live in government housing. FREE MAINTENANCE!”
11/10 Wasp count: 17. Thinking about buying a helmet and a cape to wear when I kill them.
11/8 – Suspension Revenge. We had a lockdown in the room due to drug dog testing around the school. Lights off, stop work, kids moved away from door. I tried to teach but one student who we have suspended three times was refusing everything we asked him to do. Began to cuss us out for demanding his behavior. Security button to intercom the office for an escort. Office could not escort him out due to the drill. They told us to do the best we could and contain him. He grins. Luckily he was happy to sit on the couch and wait to be suspended again.
11/11 – an absolutely awful 1st period class. Again. It took us 35 minutes to get them to be quiet and read six pages. I had to put 7 of them on the board for talking then sent one to the office before kids began to read. She said, “Don’t you dare put my name on that goddam board.” Learned that a hard rule only incites more rebellion.
11/12 – “why school” assignment. We went back to the very beginning: why are we in school, why do governments create schools, shouldn’t people be happy to receive an education, should you keep any kid in school who doesn’t want to be there, what does that mean for this class?
11/14 – Thinking that one day I will regret that I was in a room everyday with so many students that needed so much spiritual help but that I couldn’t give it to them. I am so close to the need, but in the wrong environment to help it.
11/16- physically seeing the achievement gap in grading these papers. Not necessarily a white and black problem, mostly a social class thing. Those students not from solid families, their education suffers because there is no support at home and they can only worry about what it takes to survive. It takes toughness, popularity, looks etc. and that’s what they are really learning in school. Education doesn’t seem to matter. This is the crux behind the achievement gap. Only when we take care of their Maslow social needs can they begin to have a mind ready to learn and a heart willing to.
11/17 – Student writes us and says how much it would mean to him if we came to his Christmas pageant. He’s going to be a shepherd.
11/18 “If a nigga gotta fart, a nigga gotta fart.” Response from boy after I said “are you kidding me” after he farted in front of old ladies. Leans over again, right in front of me, lets it rip. “Here I warmed it up for you.”
11/30 “Mr. Jones why did you have to pick such a long boring book?” “No one wants to read this.”
11/30 We ran out of time today guys. “Well that’s your fault Mr. Jones”
11/30 – So tired of 10 out of 93 kids bringing in their homework.
12/1 – “She’s sexy.” ” yeah she’s good looking.” “Tell her.” “Hey, you’re looking sexy today.” Male student to new student in class. I say “are you kidding me?” and male student replies “Oh my bad. Is that wrong to say? It’s just a compliment.”
12/2 “That kid’s got more problems than a mathbook.”