Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 49

So the new kid in my homeroom is having a real tough time fitting in. NOBODY will give him a break. Some of the boys spread a rumor that he's gay and now everyone hammers him all the time, including the girls, and because those spreading rumors happen to be Crips he can't really say anything back without getting "bainked."*

Today I stopped at Superfresh in the morning to buy some pencils and mints for the kids before their big benchmark assessment. On the way out I saw some boxes of a pre-packaged cake called "Zebra Pies." I'd never heard of them, but bought four boxes figuring the kids likely hadn't had breakfast and I wanted them awake and alert for the test. I gave them out in the morning before distributing the test. The kids knew what they were without even seeing the box.

The new kid came in late, gloomy and downcast as always. He took a seat in the back. I gave him his cake and his face lit up, his eyes got big, and he smiled a gigantic unabashed smile of appreciation. "WOW!" he exclaimed. "I get a Zebra Pie?!" I was taken aback because usually kids are unappreciative and contemptuous of little gestures like this. I'd also never seen him smile, and had only heard him whisper questions to me as I knelt at his desk.

I said "Yes, you get one. Of course you get one!" He was so happy.

Of course some of the kids started teasing him about how happy he was. "Everybody got one, dumbass," OTay said. But I put a stop to that by putting him out of my classroom for talking during the test. Nobody teases the new kid in my room, but I hear what's happening in the halls and in his other classes. I might have to go on the offensive myself.

*to baink someone means to gang up on and beat senseless. B'more City middle-schoolers are famous for bainking people on MTA buses, at bus stops, on the streets of Mt. Vernon, in Canton, and they occasionally baink teachers and put it on YouTube.

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