A Day in the Life of a Basic Aid District Teacher


So I'm not really a big fan of this whole "blog qua journal" thing, but I feel like after two months of civil service immersion, it may be time to invite some self-reflection back into my life. And who's more necessary to the process of self-reflection than the teeming masses of the internet? So here I go.

Today, one of my black students called the German exchange student "Hitler" while asking him for a pencil. I think he meant it to be funny. Following the sharp intake of air from the rest of the class, I told him he couldn't do that, to apologize to the German kid, and then go to the Vice Principal. Now the problem with this is that the VP is leaving at the end of this year and has become remarkably lax. So I let the kid stay after apologizing. I think tomorrow, when he's not expecting it, I'll ask him how he would feel if one of the kids called him a "filthy nigger" and see if I can't impress upon him the need for some cultural cache, even if it is only refraining from calling others homicidal megalomaniacs.

Today a student came into my room screaming at me during brunch that she had worked really hard on her essay and done really well on it, and should at least have a B, though she currently has a D. When I tried to explain to the student that her grade was an indication of the fact that she had turned in none of the assignments this semester that would demonstrate she had been doing any of the required reading, she stormed out and asked me to just give her the F. Most of my students are getting F's because they neither did the reading, nor any homework, nor the essay.

Today I also discovered that the list I was given of books we have to choose from is faulty. This comes, unfortunately, after having already let the students choose what to read from the list. We happen not to have the two most popular books. I asked the librarian if she could check with the other libraries in the district, since I know one of the other schools has a set of at least one of the books, and fellow teachers tell me this is done not infrequently. The librarian looked as though I had just asked her to move the rock of Gibralter and said 'she'd try.' I suppose I will copy chapters for them until I can track down enough of the books, but the prospects don't look good. I expect to have to buy them.

After I finish typing this, I will plan tomorrow, create a new seating chart, create a list of vocabulary definitions and examples, grade vocab quizzes, create a calendar for the next month of days they will have book discussions, and go buy at least one copy of the book, sixty of which have mysteriously disappeared from the library.

Really, today would indicate that I have a job that is not only thankless, but involves taking verbal abuse, requires every spare moment of my time, is stressful, and unrewarding. You may wait to see what tomorrow will indicate. But I, I am going to call my friend about getting a different job.


and in the meantime, come watch gilmore girls and one tree hill, because seriously the shit is hitting the fan over in la-la land.

I really want to! I was going to, but I'm being observed tomorrow and I have to make my plan and grade a bunch of vocab quizzes still. Next week though, really.

next week for sure because jess is coming back!

holy moly! a sea of fleas couldn't keep me from that!

Let's just assume that I don't believe in universal education, and that this post makes me feel secure in that belief. I'd be interested to know, then, how you personally respond to the frustrations that result from trying to teach people who don't (or can't?) want to learn, vis-a-vis Plato's ideas in The Symposium about the four broad ways in which potency is channelled in a human being. (Am I getting this right?) I am only asking you this because Gene tells me you keep a copy of Plato in your purse.

Gene used to be right. When I had a palm pilot, I carried Republic, Gorgias, Meno, the Nicomachean Ethics, (and Thus Spake Zarathustra for good measure) with me at all times. But I dropped it and now it doesn't work so good. The Symposium is more about love than about education, and it presents six views, the most famous being the myth that we were once round creatures, but were cleaved in half by angry gods and now go around searching for our other halves, and that falling in love with one's beloved, is something like the first step of philosophy. I have been trying to square my philosophical notions about education (both Platonic and Deweyan) with my recent experience, and when I finally have something I'll post it.

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This page contains a single entry by published on April 19, 2004 6:36 PM.

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