In response to my request for blogging material, Lo suggested more battle stories like the one about the girl plucking her facial hair and the kids playing poker in the class I had to cover on Monday. Unfortunately, there are so many such stories in a day that I try to deprogram my brain on the way home every afternoon so that I don’t wake up screaming in the middle of the night and, in a feverish dream state, email the superintendent my curse-filled letter of resignation. However, it’s only 2:00, so here’s today’s list for your consideration:
- Every morning I make a pot of coffee in my classroom and then I
mainline itdrink it while I’m working at my desk during my planning period. It is the only thing I look forward to about coming to work in the morning, and if I had a coffee pot at home I would probably quit my job and just drink coffee in my living room. I make the coffee at work on purpose: once I have poured that first cup I can almost feel positive about the rest of the day, and that is a big deal. This morning I filled the reservoir with water and then carried the filter basket over to the fridge where I keep the coffee and filters. I spooned the coffee into the filter, opened the fridge to put away the coffee, and knocked the filter basket into the sink. The filter basket containing the filter. And the coffee. The finely ground coffee. Praise be to Juan Valdez that it wasn’t the last of the coffee, but damn, what a sad sight it was to see that precious substance scattered, unusable, in my grungy classroom sink.
- Later in my planning period I went to the faculty restroom–my one pee break of the day, which comes, of course, at a time when I really don’t have to pee. I know this is probably horrible, but I never paper the seat at work–not in the staff restroom, anyway. I know these people; I wouldn’t paper the seat at their places of residence. Besides, those bathrooms get cleaned every night. But this morning. This morning I sat right down on the seat. A wet seat. I was so horrified that I jumped right up, grabbed a paper towel, shoved it under the faucet and turned to wash the seat, er, my seat–and dripped water all over myself. Specifically, I dripped water down my pants. A lot of water. I am still completely grossed out by the whole experience. And now I really have to pee.
My classes have been learning aboutI have been attempting to teach literary devices (irony, foreshadowing, characterization, conflict, etc.) as they apply to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for the past month. We have discussed these terms ad nauseum, especially foreshadowing and the three types of irony, as Will relies heavily on those to build suspense in the annoying story of two sex-crazed teenagers who make impulsive decisions that eventually kill themtragedy. We finished reading the play on Friday, and today’s final test marks the end of the unit. I have lost count of the students who have raised their hands to ask me the meanings of the words “ironic” and “foreshadowed.” For instance, “What do you mean by ‘foreshadowed’–is that like foreshadowing?” Even now, hours later, I am too incredulous to comment.
- The biology class that meets in my room 1st period is studying diseases, and today they entered the ugly world of HIV. The teacher is young but knowledgeable and competent; the students are among the most disrespectful and obnoxious I’ve seen in 11 years on the job. She started the AIDS lesson by showing the class a brief video that goes with her textbook. Every time the narrator said the words “sex,” “homosexual,” “intercourse,” etc. the students laughed hysterically. They laughed hysterically when the narrator explained that a pregnant woman with AIDS had to deliver her baby via C-section in an effort to protect the baby from transmission through vaginal fluid (I’m guessing it was the word “vaginal”?). Their reaction to a woman who contracted AIDS from a transfusion saying that when she found out she had the disease, she bought a house so she’d have a place to die: hysterical laughter. And more hysterical laughter ensued when they followed up the video and some notes and class discussion with a lab that illustrates how quickly one person can transmit the disease through contact with multiple partners. Every time they “exchanged fluids” (flour), some of which were laced with “AIDS” (baking soda), they screamed with laughter and loudly exclaimed, “I just had sex with you!” Upon having the “HIV test” (vinegar) applied to their sample, they were so obnoxious that they missed the entire point of the lab, spilled flour all over my desks, and disturbed the teacher next door enough to warrant a personal visit requesting them to settle down so his students could finish a test. The students in this class are more than likely more sexually active than most adults you know; they talk about sex like my friends and I used to talk about playing softball or shopping. Their nonchalance puts them at risk, and I’m not sure they even know. Even worse, I don’t think they even care.
- And then there was that boy in my honors class who a) farted out loud; b) got mad when the girl who sits in front of him protested; c) announced loudly that “it didn’t even stink;” and then d) tried to deny that he farted.
If you’re counting with me, there are 20 days remaining in this school year.