Sunday, June 14, 2009

Out with a Bang, At Least

Hi friends! Thanks for your support.

Friday was interesting, going in knowing it was my last day. I did my best to be lalala and not care, but I did want it to still be a regular day and still try like all the other days.

Oy. It sure was a regular day, alright--pretty nasty. In the afternoon class, I tried to have them do some activities about that great story, All Summer in a Day (I think Nancy first told me about that story a few years ago). It was in an anthology that was in the room, so the questions just had them responding to or interacting with the book. Easy peasy, right?

Some of the kids started right away. The kids in the back half of the room decided it would be better to throw balls of paper back and forth at each other. Several kids were out of their seats. Other kids were just talking loudly.

A few minutes went by and I tried to review it out loud with them. A couple kids were with me. Most of the kids, however, kept talking and throwing things.

I started reading the story aloud to them. This had worked in the past to quiet them down. You know, kind of like hypnosis. Oh, silly me. The noise continued and in fact possibly got louder. So I got louder too, hoping to drown it out.

So there I am, SCREAMING this story out to a bunch of preteens who really couldn't give a shit, and I think to myself, Oh for fuck's sake! Give it up, self!

So I told them to finish the story and questions in the next hour. (Oh yes, there was still an entire hour left in this double class period.) I went and sat at the teacher desk, shaking my head to myself in disbelief.

Raucous disorder continues for the next long while. I watched them. But really, they never listen to anything I say and the admin doesn't do anything anyway, so what do I care? (I know. I'm a child too.)

Eventually, the whole thing just really started to piss me off. Well, not started to, obviously. I just got completely fed up. So I charged back to the front of the room and bellowed at them. "Don't you get it? You are WASTING your TIME. Do you even understand WHY schools like this exist? Do you know who scores the lowest on test scores? Who earns the lowest salaries? African Americans. [A girl yelled out, You're a racist!] Don't you understand? Every single adult in this building wants you to be on TOP of all those scales! {At this point I'm audibly choked up and I'm actually trembling, and every single kid in that room is gaping at me silently}" I went on and on about school, and time, and decisions, and college, and the future, and blahblahblah.

The bell rang and I vamoosed. During my rant, other teachers even peeked in to gawk at me. I ignored them and plugged on.

The kids are gonna go NUTS with happiness tomorrow when they find out I'm not here. Like, throw a parade of crazy. I feel sorry for whoever has to tell them and deal with them, because it won't be pretty.

But maybe they'll remember me a little.


Schoolgal said...

I am so saddened that your last day had to end on such a sour note.

The freedom you have as a sub is to know when to hold em and know when to fold em.

However, I think you must have had very mixed emotions to blurt out the things you did and raise your voice to teach over the noise (which hardly ever works) on what should have been the most relaxing day of the year--knowing in a few hours it would be all over. Unfortunately, teachers get in trouble for saying the most innocent things. And I hope none of this comes back to bite you in the a$$.

You obviously like teaching, but you feel you have to pick schools that have the most problem students and non-responsive administrators. Those schools don't seem to fit you. But other schools might. You should try subbing in schools that are not so difficult (even if it's for a day) and see if you feel fulfilled.

I hope you have a wonderful summer and photograph the most amazing things.

KitchenSink said...

What a great and poignant story to choose for your last day. At least you left an impression on them! Maybe your impromptu soliloquy will cause some of them who were talking while you were reading to pick it up tomorrow. Good luck!!