Today we took ALL the 10th Graders into the cafeteria to prepare them for the state writing test. HA!
Today was the clusterfuck of ALL clusterfucks! HA!
1) I have a student who INSISTS on referring to me as “Baby Girl.” Albeit, he views it as a term of endearment in his community/neighborhood, I have MANY issues with this. I am his teacher, not his peer/girlfriend/”bust it” baby/baby mama or whom ever he has mistaken me for AND…I am FIFTEEN years his SENIOR!!!!!!! HA!
2) A student who was removed from the school after threatening to “blow the school up” (in handcuffs no less), joined us in the cafeteria for writing test prep. HA!
3) The woman who was sent from the county to administer the test prep “session,” told my 10th Graders that an anecdote is a short story you tell the listener/reader to introduce your topic. That part was GREAT!!!! The enunciation….OMG….an entirely different story…..her version of anecdote sounded like so …”anedote“….which REALLY sounded like “antidote”….WHEW!
Okay…I’m still on #3 folks, but I need a new paragraph. So, this lady….the Antidote Lady….is a relic of the education system. She believes in the “L” word…LECTURING! My students were bored, bored, bored…like practically DROOLING bored…and suddenly I found myself within the scene of Ferris Buellar’s Day Off…”Anyone? Anyone? Anyone?” HA!
4) Diversity…oh boy…People, “we” are in need of a wake-up call! The fiasco I have been dealing with in trying to prepare students for the state writing test has depressed me. It all started with the practice writing prompt…
The writing prompts we have been using are “retired” state writing test prompts…I chose the following to use over our past two-day crash
Writing Prompt in a Nutshell: Write a plan to read to your peers about ways to understand and appreciate diversity among American people.
…So I was thinking…this should be a FUN topic…INTERESTING even! Not a pork belly of a chance! I was nonplussed! The demographic of my students (the ENTIRE school) is 99% African-American…the faculty as well. However, I may as well have been asking my students to write an essay on Biochemical Warfare, Stalin, Open-Heart Surgery, or Aerodynamic Engineering! They couldn’t think of anything. They hemmed. They hawed. They made me want to commit MANY of the “-cides” (homo-, sui-, and geno-)…OMG! How does a minority not know about DIVERSITY? Are you kidding me?
And that’s when it hit me! These kids don’t get “out” much. They don’t appreciate diversity because they are NOT diverse. In their world (and they don’t leave that world), they are not the minority…they are the majority, and anything that is different must die. Oh, I know you’re thinking that I am exaggerating…I wish I were! During the first week of school, my students promptly dug deeply into the roots of my cultural heritage. They wanted to know why I LOOK black, but SOUND white (whatever THAT means)…?
The fact that I SOUND white perturbed them to no end…I once had a student ask, “Are you going to talk like that for the rest of the year?” “Like what?” “Like a white woman,” she responded. The class fell apart at the seams from the waves of laughter that erupted throughout the room. She…THEY…thought that was funny. I felt sorry for them all because they could not recognize that I was speaking the type of English that the rest of the world speaks…the “REAL” world…the working, professional world! Also, I did not look black enough. My hair texture was of major concern to them, and once my West Indian heritage was brought forth, I received accusatory claims of “No wonder!”…I suppose to explain away my “lack” of blackness.
I guess I should not have selected that prompt for my students!
When I look at my students, I value my upbringing all the more. I lived in a DIVERSE city and had access to friends of various races, cultures, genders, and religious affiliations. I revel in the fact that I have never pigeon-holed myself to the types of music I listen to, movies I watch, clothes I wear, and company I keep. If I received that prompt when I was in high school, I know that I would have aced it! HA!