Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fear factor

Things were going really well in our 8am class when a cockroach the size of a puppy pitbull appeared on Emmanuel's desk. "Yo, yo, yo! You infested!" he screamed, and kicked his desk. The roach flew through the air and into Rich's shirt. Rich leapt up, shrieking and waving his hands around like Rip Taylor. Lukie tried to grab the cockroach--now upended on the floor--with a tissue, but it got kicked in the commotion as terrified teenagers tried to put as much distance as possible between themselves and one lonely roach.

Half the students in this class are in gangs. Their binders and folders are decorated with personal memorials to friends and family members killed on the streets of Baltimore. They live in some of the toughest neighborhood in the United States. They hear gunfire they don't even flinch.

And they are scared to death of cockroaches. Tomorrow I'm teaching the little buggers, and a representative from my graduate program is coming to observe me. She wants to see how well I'm doing in what is rapidly becoming known as the toughtest school in Baltimore City. Those kids are going to steam-roll me, just like they did last time.

Perhaps I should go to the pet supply store and buy some feeder roaches and grasshoppers. Just to keep the class in line. Maybe a big tarantula?

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