Friday, April 14, 2006

Beautiful Absurdities

Can't sleep tonight, so I thought I'd get back to blogging about the beautiful absurdities of my classroom.

Here’s how my 5th period conversation went with Raynard, who’s officially and actually “emotionally disturbed.” (Students are often not ACTUALLY what their IEPs say they are, but in this case ... uh, yeah.) Raynard has good reasons to be disturbed, but that’s not always easy to remember.

Raynard: (30 minutes late to a 43 minute class, banging furiously on door in the middle of an extraordinarily successful lesson on prime factorization. Students are actually giving each other high fives when they get the right answer. It's a teacher’s dream. Raynard sees this and suddenly wants in.) Yo! Lemme in! Lemme in! Yo! You mad stupid. Lemme in! (Raynard’s face is now pressed against the door’s window, deforming his nose, mouth and cheeks.)

Me: (Approaching door and looking sternly at Raynard, trying hard not to laugh at his nose, mouth and cheeks.) I will let you in when you stop banging and yelling and start acting like one of my students.

Raynard: Yo, this bitch is mad dumb! Mr. I! Miss D won’t let me in!

Incompetent Dean: (Unlocks door and lets Raynard in, completely destroying teacher authority, prime factorization lesson and whatever lesson I was about to teach Raynard about entering classrooms respectfully. Incompetent Dean knows full well that Raynard cuts every class, but still feels need to reprimand me.) Miss Dennis, you need to let Raynard in. You know students cannot wander the hallways of this school. Blah blah blah … liability … blah blah blah.

Me: (Turning red with anger for a few secs, thinking, “Then why have you been letting him and 25 other students wander the halls in plain sight for the past 30 mins? Liability my ass.” Then I remember my recent attempts at meditation and opt for a more peaceful approach.) You know what? We’re having a very good lesson on prime factorization, Raynard. Why don’t you join us?

Raynard: (Who is a hell of a lot smarter than he acts.) Prime wa wa wa wa wa?

(Class begins giggling.)

Me: Raynard, have a seat.

Raynard: (Sits on Jezibel’s desk) Jezibel’s mad fine. You mad fine, Jez.

Me: (Losing patience) Raynard, we are all aware of the fact that you think Jezibel is mad fine. You say it every day. I’m sick of hearing it. We’re all sick of hearing it. And Jezibel is sick of you hitting on her. Now have a seat.

(Class is now on verge of cracking up.)

Raynard: I wasn’t hitting her!

(Class now completely loses it. I lose it. Lesson destroyed. Raynard laughs too, but with a look on his face like he doesn’t really get it. We’ll try again tomorrow.)


Blogger the stock market junkie said...

Hey, Nice to hear that you are back at the keyboard. Now, let's enjoy our spring break!

10:08 AM  
Anonymous nancy kelly said...

I am a school bus driver and had drove special ed for 6 years and found a few teachers who like you worked with these kids and found in them sucess.
thank you for this little piece of humanity..

1:58 PM  
Blogger NYC Educator said...

I would say...

"Perhaps you've mistaken me for one of your students. Actually, that is not the case. Perhaps you think I take instruction from you. That is not the case either.

If you have anything further to add, kindly put it in writing. I have to deal with my student now.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me today, and have a nice day."

Wait for incompetent dean to leave. Refuse to acknowledge any comments. Repeat "If you have anything further to add.." if necessary, until dean goes away.

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All your hard work and dedication...and now someone new from outside the NYC school system can do your job and get financially rewarded with a signing bonus and $400/month for housing.

It's nice to know you're worth it, even if our own union and the DOE don't think so.

3:04 PM  
Blogger magnolia avenue said...

Wooowww. You don't just have grace under fire, you have WIT. I'm at the wheezy end of my first year teaching ninth grade in Bed Stuy, and I find myself giving Withering Looks and stuttering when I should be saying firmly what I want Jaquan/Richard/Skyler/Jaivon to do/stop doing. You have COMEBACKS! I have those, like, once every three months. I need to keep reading--maybe I'll learn something.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Libby said...

LOLOLOL!!! This sounds like my 5th period! And yes, I had clueless principals who would think it a smart idea to pull me out of class to tell me something, "just for a minute" Meanwhile, what little control I had over that 5th period would fly out the window and I would spend the better part of the period trying to get it back. I finally called a meeting with them and told them how inappropriate their pulling me out of class was to my class control. They were so clueless and had no idea that interrupting TEACHING to ask me what I thought of a faculty meeting speaker was a bad idea. Sheesh. And I agree, you are the comback queen! :0)

12:11 PM  

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