Friday, October 29, 2010

Day #35

Last year was the first time as a public school teacher that I didn't have all African-American students. I had a Latino student at the March. This year I have 3 Caucasian students and a Filipina. My new school is so diverse!

Vegas is a hulking 7th grade white kid who grew up in Nevada, but who moved to B'more at age 4 after his father died. He's a smart kid and his two friends are smart black kids and the three of them are hilariously nerdy with their Japanese card games and video game lingo and whatnot. They've been friends for years: a southwestern kid who loves Texas hold 'em, a black kid from B'more's West Side with a Biblical name, and a Muslim who grew up in Yemen while his Dad was stationed over there doing who knows what for the government.

Vegas was jawing with Dr. Cotton yesterday, the way 7th grade kids in B'more always jaw at each other. They were "packing" each other's clothes, hair, shoes, and then it evolved to include family members, and as it usually does it started out good-natured and quickly got ugly. Dr. Cotton said "At least I have a father," which was the wrong thing to say, and Vegas put his head down and started bawling loudly, which is a tough thing to have happen in front of a tough class of tough kids. And Dr. Cotton is not a jerk, he just said the wrong thing without thinking about because 7th grade boys are just silly and asinine by nature--they're not intentionally cruel the way 7th grade girls tend to be.

And today they friends again. Yesterday I thought they were going to fight for sure, because Vegas's nerdy 'crew' were talking all kinds of smack about Dr. Cotton, but no, they worked it out. There's hope for these clowns.

My Filipina student helped grade the vocabulary quizzes I gave yesterday. I said "let me make you an answer key Nako" and she rolled her eyes at me. "Um, I don't need an answer key. We Asians take our education very seriously." The entire time she was grading quizzes she was sighing in deep exasperation: "Ugh! An influx is most certainly NOT a number which limits--that would be a QUOTA." or "I can't believe that someone would confuse the word 'immigrant' with the term 'indentured servant,' especially someone who has been in school for five years with an immigrant--me!'

I find my students very entertaining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too want to urge you towards a book. I love how the language/slang of your kids has been invading your own writing patterns over the years. "And today they friends again." Sounds completely nature now, huh? Would it have, 5 years ago? Might be interesting to begin the book in one voice, end it in another. God knows, I'd read ...

Kai in NYC