Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Day #21

Gotta be careful sometimes when I play-act a loose-cannon rage to quell a rowdy class. Sometimes play-acting rage can result in real rage if the initial blow-up doesn't cool things off.

Today in last period we had a great day until near the end when I blasted them with a faux display after they went all chaotic. I kicked a desk and a young man who got in my face found himself with his arm twisted behind his back face down on a desk. "Yo, that some police shit," another boy said, and I released his classmate. I don't intend any "police shit," of course, but have to consider such appearances at all times, given that I am a white man in a room full of African American students. But young men who "get up in my grill" are going to find I don't flinch. They beat a teacher in the head with desks and chairs a couple years back at my school. Nobody is going to feel confident coming at me.

I told them I was tired of the noise and the disrespect. The boy who'd been face down a moment before said "We tired of you!" and I sent him to the office and my fake anger became real anger. "His head gettin' real red," a girl said. "SHUT YOUR MOUTHS," I screeched.

Kids actually jumped.

"I can teach anywhere I choose," I told them quietly and calmly. "I can teach in Baltimore County, Howard County, or Montgomery County, where the kids sit quietly in their chairs and do their work and colleges fight over them. But I came here to teach you. You can take advantage of that or not. The next person who breathes without my permission will stay with me until 4pm today." Then we finished our lesson in relative peace and quiet.

Strangely, no one had detention today in my classes, but I had 10 kids in my room after school, asking if they could help clean up, wash the boards, or use my computers. They stayed until 4. I helped them with homework, we exchanged stories, we listened to Lil Wayne and Gucci Mane and Rihanna. I was at work from 7am-5pm, and I am bone tired.

4 comments:

ajc said...

You rock Geoff, those kids like you and respect you, especially because you choose them. Relish those small victories.

Nick said...

What's going ahn? Besides the obvious. Don't worry man, if it was me up there, I'd be a puddle of soggy toast within 10 seconds. You're doing good.

Silenus said...

They don't like the new Jay-Z? Probably way too Brooklyn for them. Personally, I think the following might be the most well-turned metaphor in all of hip-hop:

I was gonna kill a couple rappers
But they did it to themselves
I was gon' do it with the flow
But they did it with their sales
I was gon' 9/11 'em, but they didn't need the help
And they did a good job them boys is talented as hell
Cuz not only did they brick they put a building up as well
They ran a plane into that building and when that building fell
Ran to the crash site with no masks and inhaled
Toxins deep inside their lungs until both of them was filled
Blew a cloud out like a El into a jar then took a smell
Cuz they heard that second hand smoke kills

Nyarlathotep said...

How positively Jungian. I just heard this for the first time the other day. I was on the stoop and some cat in an SUV was blaring it at the corner of Whitelock and Madison.