Monday, August 11, 2003
First Day of School
Harmony, my ass.
How quickly the theory falls away and you are left naked and alone at the front of the classroom. It is so easy to say, "I am teaching for Every child...not just the ones that behave. I am really teaching very much to the kid who doesn't seem to want to learn". No. What is left out of that equation is that it takes a lot to stand up in front of a bunch of kids who are rolling their eyes at everything you have to say and exhaling deeply as though they have never had to endure the type of boredom that they endure in your class.
Really, the day went fairly well. I have three periods of what they call "academic" classes. This is just a fancy term for kids who didn't excel in previous levels. North Carolina definately works through tracking, so I have all of the "lower level" students in my classes. They know that they are lower level and they feel like they are stupid and many of the wonder why in the world they would even bother because they have been in "academic" classes all of their lives. They are coming in feeling like there is nowhere to go from where they are.
I spent the day giving inspirational speeches, punctuated frequently by a request for students to please wake up. Many of them slept. I found myself lying about my past, in order to "relate" to them in ways that were ridiculous. I told them that I was a horrible student (I graduated high school with a 4.0). I told them that I am an artist and a musician (um..no.) I told them that I was hired by Nash County because of my expertise in "classroom culture" and "conflict management". I couldn't help it! They were just...staring at me. Just staring and not speaking. They were sleeping and sighing. It was daunting.
But at the end of the day, a student said, "Tenisha- in first period- told me your class was fun. It is, too."
Wow. They appear to be in hell, but I think I did okay. I am so exhausted, though. I cannot believe I have to do this another four times this week. Yikes.
But on the up, I am finally doing what I have been preparing so long to do and it feels good. And I feel pretty good about being here, in my apartment, in this town, in this state. Wish me luck tomorrow. ¶ 3:17 PM