Thursday, September 16, 2004

Year 2, Week 1
The first week (or first 3/5 week, actually, Jewish New Year suckas!) is over, and the reviews are mixed. It’s certainly easier than the first week last year. I know where I’m going, how to deal with the attendance and other various paperwork, and have a somewhat better idea how to keep the kids in check and get a little something done. I also know a number of my students from last year, which helps a lot.

Some are kids I had in Level 1 last fall who have now advanced to Level 3. These kids are for the most part absolutely fucking awesome, at least by Shitty standards. They do enough work to get by, show up mostly, appear to actually want to learn English, have not yet been fully criminalized, and generally behave with a modicum of respect towards me if not their peers. This is because they had me when they first got here, I feel quite confident.

Other students that I know already are ones I failed in the same class last Spring or even last Fall, and while we have mostly (and grudgingly) developed a mutual and inexplicable fondness for one another, these kids are, to a one, big pains in my ass. For some reason these are not the kids who tried to work or listen or behave and just weren’t prepared or mature or confident enough to pass, who just needed a little more time and practice, they are the ones who could give a fuck about learning English, who respond to anything I say (no matter how polite or charming) with a sneer and snarling “Que?” The ones who right after I ask them to be quiet stand up and begin to clap and sing and grind their big round Dominican ass against one of their classmates, the ones who see me in the hall and smile and then cut my class anyway.

I also have a student - a really smart, self-confident and mature kid who is in Special Ed., as far as I can tell, because he has poor penmanship – who passed my Level 4 class last semester and is now, through a quirk of scheduling that ought to be resolved in 6 weeks or so, in one of my Level 3 classes.

So it’s easier, but I still wake up every morning full of woe and the desire to flee. It’s great that I have a little better idea of what I’m doing, but I also know exactly how much everyday sucks and will continue to suck, and bear no illusions of one day figuring it all out and being serenaded “To Sir, With Love.” (I do, however, still fantasize about looking like Sidney Poitier, but that’s a post for my other website, iwishiwasagoodlookingblackdude.blogspot.com). I was thinking the other day how much easier this year was so far, especially just being here from the beginning, and not getting thrown into things the third week of school. Then I thought about the fact that this year would therefore be two weeks longer than last year, and it was if my heart had been ripped out of my chest and shoved down my throat, and I was choking on my own dread.

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