Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today, after the normal morning announcements, one of the science teachers got on the microphone and declared that someone had broken into his lab, desecrated one of his stuffed chickens, and left a nasty note. Then he threatened life and limb of whoever it was, promising to spare their soul if they would turn themselves in before he called "his friends in the police." Yes, the whole thing's just as wonky as it sounds, plus you should imagine this speech given in his booming, outraged voice. If I had been the delinquent, I would have been terrified.

I had my first lesson of the day with That Class, who thought the announcement was the funniest thing they'd ever heard. I admit, it was a little over-the-top dramatic (seriously, he was speaking like an old-fashioned preacher drawing down the wrath of God) but nonetheless, there was the serious side - someone willfully destroyed his personal property. I can only imagine how I would react if someone if someone wounded me like that.

But of course, this class couldn't see past the humor. They screeched with laughter and spent the whole lesson repeating the speech, embellishing and retelling it in increasing volume and outlandish voices. Sympathy for the victim of the crime? Two or three students only. The rest, nada. I think they would have laughed at a rape victim if she'd told her story in a whiny voice. I might have guessed that the reason for their hilarity was because one of them was the culprit. But at the time I just chalked it up to their usual juvenile obsession with anything that isn't the assignments I give them.

Anyway, the whole episode with this class disgusted me. Not to start my own self-righteous, over-dramatic tirade, but... Up to now, I always struggled to teach them, and I always fought with myself to care about teaching them well, but I managed to do it because I still liked them as people, you know? It was depressing to realize today how completely selfish, self-centered, and two-faced most of them are. What a disappointment. I can't get over how totally disheartening and disillusioning this was. And what about tomorrow, and next week? How can I walk in and teach a group of people for whom I have zero respect, neither as students, and now not even as decent human beings? How can I communicate with them? How can I grade them fairly? How can I be objective? Why should I bother?

1 comment:

Kat said...

I completely identify with all of your questions. You just do your job, teach for those two or three kids who still resemble human beings and forget about the rest...this is where No Child Left Behind fails miserably... leave 'em behind and good luck!