Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, the things children say.

The kids at my school are indignant when reprimanded. They have good reason. As one pointed out, "You're just like Ms H--you don't like Asians!" Yes, yes, that's it. I don't like Asians. The truth is, I can't really tell the Cambodians apart from the Hispanics at this school. Most of their names--Shaidiamond? Chansolida? Jeessell?--are not (to me) obviously from any linguistic group. In both ethnic groups, girls tend to wear gold bracelets and hoop earrings. The kids wear school uniforms. Except for a few children obvious in their appearance or in their names (the two Carloses and the two Rafaels, for example, have names that reveal their backgrounds), I cannot guess who is what.

Also: If I disliked Asians, why would I work at a school that is 50% Asian? If I disliked Hispanics, why would I work at a school where the remainder is Hispanic?

Moving on.

Many of the kids seem to have a short circuit in the "consequences" section of their brains. Ergo, when I reprimand one, I often receive the charming response, "Why you pickin' on me?" If my answer is not to the offended child's satisfaction, he often rewards me by saying, "Woooooowwwwwwwww," in exasperated, indignant disbelief at the injustices inflicted upon his poor soul by a soulless substitute teacher.

I say "he", because the girls are more likely to stare at me with an evil, defiant glint in their eyes and repeat the offending behavior, rather than arguing with me, the teacher. Perhaps they are smarter. I'm not convinced that is the case, however. I think that these kids have developed their own gender norms for misbehavior protocol.

It is interesting, this anthropology of adolescents.

Oh, and also! One charming young man called me a bitch and said he hated his fucking school in front of the vice principal, immediately after being released from the vp's office for another offense! Needless to say, he did not make it back to my class that afternoon.

PS Nonetheless, I maintain that 7th grade is way more fun than 1st.


Bill Stankus said...

If you read my post about attending Catholic school you may understand why I don't understand modern education.

I'm guessing but I suspect a teacher probably makes a difference to 10% of every class. The rest just waddle through school and life and produce even more kids who never catch on to the value of education.

Being happy with 10% is a good thing.

kStyle said...

Hi Bill,

I hear you. I'm not getting into teaching to change the kids' lives. I don't harbor the illusion that teachers Save Children--I do cultivate Buddhist nonattachment from views, after all.

I'm in it to open the kids up to more options that they can pursue if they so choose. I'm entering ESL in particular to welcome newcomers to this country and boost their options; to help them break down doors with a little linguistic leg up; and to encourage them to keep alive their home cultures and languages.

Finally, teaching seems to suit me and use my talents. Certainly it is a better fit for me than was my stapled-to-the-desk office job.

As for the kids reproducing later on, I know many people feel as you do. I try to weed out that notion when it arises in my own thinking, however, because I believe it carries a cultural residue from the old eugenics movement.

Glad to have you visit!

Larry Jones said...

Ten percent is a lot. If kStyle wanted to Save Children, that number of kids would make the whole endeavor worth the effort. One percent can elect a President, as we've seen.

kStyle said...

Good point, Larry. I am standing a little straighter now.