Some days teaching urban kids are just miraculously fun. These days are still exhausting, frustrating, aggravating, and disturbing, but the crazy things which come out the kids' mouths are so weird and off the chain that I reap big entertainment rewards. Ahh, intrinsic value!
I'm not sure the kind old docents at Mt. Clare Mansion feel the same way. I think by the time I brought the last-period seventh grade boys over that they were about done.
It's amazing that each time we lined up at the door and one of the docents opened it the kids would immediately cluster around me in fear, asking "do she live here?" or "Is she a ghost?"
LaKia and Shan'non going bonkers when they saw a powdered ladies wig in a glass case. The docent explained that Mary Clare Carroll wore a similar wig as did many ladies of the time. LaKia was all "dem crazy rich white bitches had tracks!" I almost fell out in the 250-year-old dining room.
LaKia strolling directly up to a Charles Willson Peale oil portrait of Barrister Carroll and tapping it on the face with her gel pen and saying "who dat?" I was sure the docent was going to be sick in the nearby chamber pot. "That's a Charles Willson Peale, my dear," she said tremblingly, hoping to discourage touching of priceless art by name-dropping. LaKia was like "Well Charles Pealy Whatever look nasty."
Speaking of chamber pots, when the docent on my second tour asked if anyone could guess what it was for Akeel said "that for dookie."
Standing before a case of Carroll silver and having the purpose of a marrow spoon explained to them, Ariq said "ew, who eats marrow? My dog eat that shit!" and Akeel said "My sister need one of those cuz she love marrow. I'm tired of hearing her trying to suck them bones." This of course lead to much double-entendre.
Upon seeing Mary Clare Carroll's dress with wide hoop on the hips, Jerry commented that her booty must have been "truly epic." I wonder: was Mary Clare's ghost flattered to hear this?
Each time the 200-year-old French mantel clocks chimed the kids jumped about 3-feet in the air. I've never seen such terror. Snakes could not be more effective.
The top five questions today:
1) Is this place haunted? (literally dozens of kids asked this)
2) How many people died here?
3) Did the Carrolls get shot?
4) Can I still collect the reward money if I find Dr. Carroll's runaway slave?
5) Why they no flatscreen up in here if them Carrolls so rich?
LaKia and Shan'non started jawing at each other in the dining room chamber upstairs as the docent described portraits of Tilghmans and Carrolls. LaKia was tired of Shan'non talking when she was trying to hear, so she told Shan'non to shut up. Shan'non said "Fuck you bitch you shut up" and then it was all Ghetto Girls Gone Wild in a house seen by John Adams, the Marquise de LaFayette, and Martha Washington. I had to grab and restrain them and take them out to the stairwell for a dressing down in front of Peale's late 18th-century landscape of the manor's Georgia Plantation.
But all-in-all the kids were engaged, they completed their worksheets, they asked good questions, and they had fun. The 7th grade boys wanted their money back because they didn't think it was fun. But they don't think anything is fun.