Tuesday, April 15, 2008
A Beautiful Day of Reckoning in the Neighborhood
I had a formal observation today, meaning that my supervising teacher from Notre Dame observed me in front of class and took notes. This was my fourth of five such observations, and they are important in the teacher certification process. I was going over the lesson in my head as I walked from my car to Booker T. this morning when one of Baltimore's Finest stopped me.
"Hey buddy, you work here?" he asked, pointing at the building.
"Can I get you to sign some paperwork? I delivered 8 students just a few minutes ago and need a teacher's signature."
"What did they do?" I asked, noting that I knew none of the students I was signing paperwork for.
"They were just late. We're keeping track of every student who shows up here late every day now. We got so many stabbings and cuttings associated with the kids in this building that the mayor wants to know who's late to school every day."
I thought back to all the mornings at previous jobs when I didn't feel like going to work, and all the times I felt tired or not up to the task or disengaged with my job. Then I thought about what the cop had just told me and how routine this sort of thing has become. I used to complain about bookstore staff and patrons, and college kids. And sitting in a cubicle writing curriculum used to cause unbearable stress. Ha.
We had a lockdown for a half-hour yesterday--no big deal, I figured, just a dime a dozen lock-down unlike the one last Thursday for the chaotic fight and teacher beat-down. Boy was I wrong. Apparently yesterday's lockdown was due to a shooting, and some adults involved had come to the school to tell students who knew about it to keep their mouths shut. We had another lock-down today. Perhaps tomorrow I'll find out what that one was for.
Anyone want to volunteer? You can work in my classroom. I had a student who typically knows better punch diminiutive E. Muffin in the back of the head this morning. The punch was so hard it sounded like a bag of meat dropping on cement. Muffin, crying, picked up a full trashcan and hurled it at his assailant. Sickening, sickening, toxic environment. I'm drinking again tonight.
The observation went well. My supervisor came in, shook my hand, and asked jokingly if I had been beaten recently by students. Good one! Har-dee har-har.
As we left Mr. H was asking if anyone knew who the kid in a green and yellow shirt was. We knew, and told him. "He just punched a child in the nose downstairs and there is blood everywhere." Mr. H saw an AP and mentioned the kid's name. "He is standing on banana peels with me," she said and Mr. H told her what had just happened. This AP always forgets to file paperwork and kids who should be suspended or expelled end up staying in the building.