Sunday, February 29, 2004
i figured i'd make a quick post about last week as i watch the oscars and avoid doing overdue work.
last week was memorable. many students were still out due to suspensions. on monday when i signed in there was a sign to see the principal immediately. she informed me that a student had been injured late friday evening/sat morning and had been airlifted. he wasn't doing well and the doctors were trying to relieve swelling of the brain. the police thought it might be gang related and arrests were imminent.
grades were due wednesday, but since we've had a few days off due to weather there were no workdays. that made it tough. it also was tough deciding who to fail and who to give an incomplete. there were so many zeros factored in. students just aren't doing the classwork/homework, and when they miss class, they don't make up tests either.
on thursday, the principal announced that the student had died. there were grief counselors, and the day was just surreal. i really don't know what to say to my students. in second period, two students spent 90 minutes talking about all the different people in their life who'd been killed, the funerals, and the ramifications of such. one girl described in detail how her father had been killed by policemen who'd hired hitman from new jersey, the newspaper accounts, and the amount of prison time received.
next period, the principal again comes on over the intercom. this time she announces that due to impending snow, school will be let out at noon. i hung around for a little while, but the snow was coming down quite hard. everyone else seemed to be waiting around - i think for 2 pm when paychecks were to be distributed. i had two words for these folks..."direct deposit."
i went home and worked through the night on an assignment for a class i'm taking. around 4:36am it's announced that school is cancelled for friday. i crash.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
the cat's back
our principal returned first period today and worked the rest of the day. she was hospitalized for over a week. this is the first full day in 2 weeks (she stopped by at the end of the day friday). i think we've hung on pretty well. i don't envy her discipline backlog. it seems most of us wrote about 5 discipline referral forms a day. that makes 50 per teacher for the two weeks... some students in particular are overdue for some after school detention or some time at home or something. they knew that they could walkout of class, swear, smoke, etc and nothing was happening to them. we'd write it up, but if they weren't fighting or really aggravating the secretary, they weren't going to be suspended.
i may make a post (go ahead laugh at me promising to post) about some major flaws in the disciplining process for my school. of course i tend to agree with the broken windows theory and teach at an alternative school...
these students have some serious lapses in judgement. the principal returns yet some students seemed to be waiting for her return to fight. the girl who yesterday decided to tell the secretary that i attempted to hit her with a ruler (another story time) was smart enough to go tell the secretary that she was going to go fight with a girl and then left to do it. watching the secretary and another teacher try to stop her in the hall nearly made me laugh out loud. she is just ridiculous at times. the principal told me the girl was surprised she was going to be suspended.
i'm not sure what prompted it, but several students were searched during fourth block. students just go crazy when someone is searched. the first one who was to be searched (he refused and cursed at the principal) started saying that another student "snitched" on them. he stated he'd go to his house and have some retaliation.
my tech math class was quite odd. the tech math 1 students were to make any last minute changes to their lab report and type it if they didn't have a computer. (to get 1 typed lab report was actually pretty darn good.) however other students broke out into a discussion of tithing. this continued with some theological discussions that were pretty ridiculous. ("but how did they cross the water if it was before europa?" or "did god make man before or after the earth?") i kept saying that this topic was not relevant to tech math. i did offer to explain how to calculate tithes, and i did do a quick geography lesson about eqypt, the red sea, and the sinai peninsula. all of these questions - which while seemingly pure timewasters were clearly sincere - led to the best of the day. after the bus to the first school had left, and the others would arrive quite shortly, i had one student ask "but quick, just tell me one thing. why are we on this planet for real?" i didn't expect to be asked to answer the meaning of life in 2 minutes when i signed up for this. i told him that many philosophers and thinkers and theologians have spent lifetimes trying to determine what it is, but many other people have found their purpose in life in just a few minutes. i told him it's something he's going to have to have to determine for himself. i'm not sure how well i did answering the question. (i doubt just answering "42" would have been any better.)