Spent three hours at Baltimore City Public Schools headquarters this morning filling out forms, getting fingerprinted, and being herded from place to place. The HR rep who co-ordinated our fingerprinting had teardrop tats below her right eye and sported large RIP tattoos on each bicep. One said "Soldier Man 03-27-2007."
I saw a contingent of Filipinos cowering in the corner, three women and two men. The City is so desperate for teachers they've been shipping them in from Manila. I think there are 300 native Filipinos in the BCPSS right now. Cha has heard that some of these imports are turned loose on the City without any guidance about housing or utilities or resources. I introduced myself to them, chatted about food and Boracay Island, and welcomed them to Baltimore. They were very impressed that I like bilo-bilo, and offered to cook for me any time. I can't imagine flying halfway around the world to teach English in a hard-core urban school system in the U.S. The culture shock for a bit of white trash from southern PA like me is bad enough; flying in from Cebu City or a rural one-room schoolhouse near Banaue and ending up at Lake Clifton High takes coconut-sized cojones.
I found out that I'll be spending 20 hours a week for the next ten months at Booker T. Washington Middle School. Not as bad as some of the possible assignments I faced, but not the best of the lot by any means. Cha knows the GT English teacher there, who drives from Delaware every day because she wants to help the kids in B'more. I wouldn't mind having a mentor like that.
Off now to Notre Dame in Maryland for orientation and the first meeting of Special Ed.