Blustery Tuesday

Fall weather has finally penetrated the walls of the school. We won’t have a new boiler until the end of the month, perhaps, but the sunshine and the unbearable heat of the first weeks of school is still keeping most of the classrooms decent. Our office in the convent – aka the “rent controlled district” – is freezing. I definitely feel a breeze blowing through from somewhere. I’m not complaining, though. I love this weather.

We are MEAPing again today and Thursday. It’s been a peaceful day so far. I’m in Ms. H’s room again, which has been really delightful. I’m trading my computer knowledge for her several decades of teaching wisdom. I think I need to spend more time with her, just for a dose of hope and encouragement and basically warm fuzzy things to balance out all the crap.

Revealing moment of my day so far:
During the essay portion of the test, an eighth grader waved me over and asked me in all seriousness: “Do Republicans like black people?”

I’m trying to get inside his head, where the Republicans are perhaps a faceless mob of suit-wearing white dudes. I’m used to dealing with the other side of the stereotype, where people are questioning the thoughts and motives of “the black people” – an equally faceless mass.

Gretchen and I are trying to put together a pen-pal project, to teach letter writing in Spanish but also for some real culture lessons. I think some communication between our schools – a Detroit public charter school, and a small private high school in Ann Arbor – could be beneficial to everybody.

It may be too soon to say, but I feel things looking up this week. I think I’m beginning to get past the just-treading-water stage, to the point where I’m really getting some good ideas for directions to take my classes in. I’m getting excited about putting together projects that I think will actually work out.

On a more sobering note, an 8th grader today showed me a poem he wrote in honor of his 16-yr-old cousin, who was killed in a drive-by shooting at a Detroit high school last week. I’m reading an article about the incident now, saying that:

The shooting followed a week of violence at Henry Ford High that included fires in the school, bloody fights in the hallways and the postponement of a football game against Renaissance High School because of a brawl.

But it’s not just the school that’s a madhouse. The madness certainly comes from somewhere. The article ends in a description of the school board meeting and demands for increased security:

[A former school board candidate] continued shouting at school board members long after her allotted time ended, causing security to swarm her and guide her away from the microphone. Other speakers at the school board meeting advocated African-centered education, which they said is a more holistic approach to teaching students, while one man said corporal punishment should be considered.

Holy crap.

As hectic as things are here sometimes, stories like this make me realize that there are much, much worse places (*cough DPS cough*) I could be teaching.

Remind me of that next time I’m totally overwhelmed and frustrated. Say, tomorrow or so.

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