On alternate Wednesdays I have a class called "Internship Seminar" in which the same tired bullshit I've "learned" in every graduate education class taken since last August (that would be 9 at this point) is reheated and force-fed to us anew. It's a tragic waste of time. We'd be better served watching quality teachers manage their classrooms, or drinking martinis, or watching pornography.
But at least we get to kvetch a bit, and meet others in the program. Many of the others are from Panama, part of a growing contingent of international educators flown into Baltimore in order to take teaching positions Yanks won't touch with ten foot poles. I chatted today with a Panamanian who speaks French, who reads widely in Spanish, French, and English, and who recently started teaching U.S. Government at a B'more high school. It was a pleasure to speak French again, even briefly, and to discuss Rimbaud's synesthesia.
The poor Panamanians are having a hard time adjusting to the rough realities of B'more's school system (some of the Filipino teachers have had truly tragic experiences as well).
But my new friend and I were able to laugh a bit. He taught in Metz for a year, in a rough French public school, and says B'more is not much different, though the kids are even more aggressive and less educated here than in poor, ethnic, urban France. I told him I knew Metz only from driving through and stopping at a fast-food restaurant. It was a foggy Sunday, I was driving from Luxembourg to Zurich, and Yves Montand was singing "La Bicyclette" on the radio. Nothing was open along the highway but a crappy Checkers-style diner where they served American "cuisine." I have only a vague impression of Metz as a sort of amorphous Scranton, PA. Scranton, PA, with a looming Gothic cathedral.
The tough class ate me alive today. I allowed them to do so. I caved in, and because of my stupid seminar I couldn't hang around to enforce the detentions I doled out, leaving that duty instead to poor Lukie. Again, I blame myself in part, and the wretched and mind-numbing City curriculum. Were I forced to endure such inanities, which resemble "education" to the degree that George W. Bush resembles a statesman, I'd rebel too.