Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Day #37

The special educator at our school has been testing the reading levels of the 7th graders--the kids we took over from the school whose building we moved into this year. The situation is pretty bleak. The average reading level for the 22 boys in my class is 3rd grade. The highest reading level is 5th grade. There are several 2nd grade level readers. This data kind of set me off; I fired off an email exchange with my Humanities counter-part (I teach 6th grade and the 7th grade boys--she teachers 8th grade and the 7th grade girls). We're both in agreement that we should shelve the Pigtown/Immigration expedition with the 7th graders and teach them how to read instead. We had a nice meeting today where we thought up a plan of attack--now we have to sell it and get some extra resources in place.

It's so nice to be at a school where I can feel comfortable saying "screw the curriculum" and asking for resources to just teach reading. That doesn't mean we'll get what we want, but we're in a place where it's likely. Instead of trying to teach these kids at my old school, I'd be yelling at them all day about behavior. Yes, I have to do that regularly with them, but they are by no means on the level with my previous class room experiences.*

Once upon a time I'd have chimed in on the election results. Once upon a time I gave a shit. Let's just quote Mencken, whose Prejudices are out in full flower from the Library of America:

Has the art of politics no apparent utility? Does it appear to be unqualifiedly ratty, raffish, sordid, obscene, and low down, and its salient virtuousi a gang of unmitigated scoundrels? Then let us not forget its high capacity to soothe and tickle the midriff, its incomparable services as a maker of entertainment.

H.L. Mencken, On Politics

*I've been informed by several people that the lack of fighting, violence, and rude behavior by my kids this year has rendered this blog far less entertaining. Thank God!

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