Monday, January 10, 2005

At an East End High School
. . . I didn't have as bad a day as the day that made me swear I'd never return, but it had some low points. Like when the teaching assistant I got 5th period locked me out when we went for lunch. I wanted to go to the bathroom, then return to have lunch in the room. Rather than let me go all the way to the office, she gave me bad directions to an over-crowded students' restroom. From there, I went to the library, where I knew where the staff bathroom was. Then, I walked back to class and found the door locked. It seemed easiest to head back to the library where I begged a library clerk (who is very nice) for a chair in her space so I could sit and eat two pretzels and a tangerine in the 4 minutes I had left for lunch.

The low of being there is just something in the air at that school: there's so much more swearing, so many more (vivid) public displays of affection, and fights are so frequent that I can't help but imagine half of these young people as the "heads of household" in broken homes by 2007. I see future angry, ignorant young mothers, and young men who wouldn't hesitate to hit - or leave - rather than be a partner in a household or family.

The subject, by the way, was history. For 20th Century US, the teacher left a great timeline activity. It was a 7 period day, though, and I felt like I never had time to explain the assignment, encourage them to use good websites (American Experience, Wikiepedia, ones from school, etc.) and not Ask Jeeves, and maintain order. I really wanted them to get something out of it, but I just couldn't reach them in 45 minutes. Some classes were world history. Apparently, my reading of PowerPoint slides (printed on paper) really impressed a couple of classes as they listened attentively, seemed to retain about 3 facts, and asked, Wow, are you a real history teacher?

That, and the fact that, even as I write this, that I know that I don't really take any work worries home made it an acceptable day. I was on I-64 when I felt all the stress go away forever.

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