Thursday, May 18, 2006

America's Future, Aged 12

We have passed Fingers and Toes Day. Fingers and Toes day is a little-known international holiday celebrated by teachers--the twentieth day to summer vacation.

How am I doing? I'll tell you how I'm doing. In a vain attempt to get my students' attention today I turned off the fan. They did not stop talking. I stalked purposefully toward the open window.

Sweet Korean Kid #3 (all names have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty) rose to his feet and shouted "Ms. Balabusta, no! DON'T JUMP!"

I CLOSED it. They didn't stop talking though, not even when I began to turn up the thermostat. They're not real bright.

Sweet Korean Kid #3 is actually very bright, and also funny. He plays tricks on me--normal pre-teen gags, like dabbing his finger with red ink and pretending to have stapled it, and the like. He has, for some reason, decided that the cutest, smallest girl in my class is the source of all evil, and regularly accuses her of all sorts of malfeasance.

"Ms. Balabusta, I know who pulled the fire alarm."


"YES! It was...ANGELIQUE!"

"Ms. Balabusta, do you know who beat up Jimmy yesterday?"

"No, hon, I don't."

"It was....ANGELIQUE!"

We now have a sort of comedy routine based on it.

Me: #3! Who knows where Jimmy Hoffa is?


Me: Who took the Lindberg baby?


Me: What was Jack the Ripper's REAL name?


No, he has no idea who any of these people are. But he appreciates having a partner in his one-man comedy show.

Anyway, while we're having fun..."#3! Who killed the Princes in the Tower?"...the school is self-destructing. Our teacher staffing has been cut down to 25.5 teachers, due to student hemorrhage and district stupidity. In response, our administration has cancelled French, most Spanish classes, drama, journalism, and the noontime sports program. Math Intensive Care With Jojoba Extract and Rote Reading, New, Improved, Now With Hand Signals will continue as scheduled.

To quote the guy from "Man of La Mancha", "thank God I won't be there to see".

The school I am working at is in an unfortunate position. It's smack-dab in the middle of town, sandwiched between two other middle schools. One is in the affluent part of town and has highly involved parents. The other is in the projects part of town, and gets special federal funding, because their kids are in dire need. We just sort of sit and molder. There is no librarian. There is kind of a library in the sense that there is a room with many books, most of them older than my parents, on shelves on the wall.

Even if I'm answering phones in the fall, it will be better than this situation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I teach in a school that is in a similar position- stuck between the extremes of wealth and poverty- we are ever the lost child of the district. And you are right at this time of year the wheels are about ready to fall off the bus. We're down to the final 10 days at my school- but as you know- its already over.