This inner-city world is strange to me; VERY strange! In fact, I believe Jim Morrison of The Doors speaks best for me when he states “People are strange, when you’re a stranger/ Faces look ugly when you’re alone.” I am alone. I am strange. I have encountered MANY uneven streets (metaphorically speaking) since working at this school than I have in any other and I am no novice teacher. I am beginning to think I work in a circus “Fun” House…distorted mirror images included!
I am incredulous in regards to the things that are ALLOWED to continue at this “school.” The students are not expected to adhere to ANY types of rules or standards because those rules/standards are NEVER enforced! I have never worked anywhere like this (mind you this is my FOURTH high school of employment and my 7th year of teaching)…I am no novice. The students regard our fearless leader as the biggest joke since “W” (sorry Republicans) and I agree! Oh sure…he enforces rules and asserts his authori-TAH, but only when it’s safe for him…only when it’s a teacher. And when he does that, it’s passive-aggressive, yellow-bellied, and underhanded.
My fearless leader’s main concerns are as follows (and not in any particular order):
- Did you close your classroom window?
- Did you make it to work by EXACTLY 8AM?
- Are you attending your one-hour-and-fifteen-minute-long common planning meetings twice a month? (He never reads the minutes, addresses our concerns from those meetings, or attempts to resolve administrative issues)
- Are you showing ANYTHING that closely resembles a video on a FRIDAY? (even if it’s educational…and our classes meet every OTHER day, so students are ALWAYS confused. If you are teaching Romeo and Juliet…students may ONLY watch on a Mon. or Wed. because showing it on FRIDAY is a sacrilege)
- Are you physically PRESENT? (EVERYONE should come to work and REMAIN at work even if you are throwing up all over yourself, have a migraine, or can not breathe due to Asthma)
- What ever it is that you are doing…does it LOOK good? (who cares what’s ACTUALLY going on)
My fearless leader is NOT concerned with the following (and not in any particular order):
- Fights in the hallway ( he walks past those). In fact, a student once said to me, “Hey, you know how Mr.*** is always wearin’ them sneakers? It makes you think he going to be the FIRST one on the scene of a fight…sprintin’ right, but that n***a is the LAST one there!”
- Discipline issues in the classroom – I have watched him shut the door on other teachers who have brought the student to his door! He says that he is on lunch…or too busy.
- Standing in the hallway during class changes to monitor student behavior and (more importantly) to foster a relationship with students aside from that of a “disciplinarian.”
- The fact that I share ONE set of twenty books with two other teachers who teach the same subject (and NO…we are not sharing a classroom, too)!
- Students who are congregated in the hallways past the ringing of the bell – he walks past that without a word (I have personally witnessed that).
- Enforcing the very rules he has so vehemently put into place! Guess what…you named it! He walks past those juvenile wrong doers without so much as a word!
I think it is obvious that I will NOT be returning to that school next year…in fact, the experience, as a whole, has caused me to truly question the institution and concept of public school “education.” I am conflicted. I mean…what am I REALLY doing? I don’t want to deal with anymore obnoxious discipline issues all by myself, poor administration, inadequate resources, ungrateful students, or shitty NCLB…really it’s No Teacher Left Behind (but that’s another blog).
I would like to think that the goal of education is to create free-thinkers (not to micro-manage), however the longer I remain in the profession, I notice the opposite happening. I see the creation of a corporation of drones. I see Stepford Wives. I see students attacking other students for being “different,” while I experience the school administration begin to view me as a plague because I will not wholeheartedly buy into the latest trend of educational bullshit drone-dom they are force feeding down the throats of the faculty. I feel like a leper because all I want to do is to teach kids HOW to think!