Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Mounting Up
Yesterday was our first day back. The kids come in on Thursday, although most of them won’t show up until Monday. Why bother with a short week? Especially when their schedules will all be wrong for the first few weeks anyway.

We spent the morning eating complimentary mini-muffins and listening--once some interminable PowerPoint technical difficulties were resolved, and after an overwhelmingly self-congratulatory home movie (dramatically scored by the stirring anthems of late-period U2) about a group of principals’ trip to a conference--to a motivational speaker who affectionately referred to us, his audience, as his “high school buddies.” A few too many goofy puns later, and before another moving PowerPoint presentation, this an ode to the “Noble Teacher” and soundtracked by Bette Midler’s maudlin classic “Wind Beneath My Wings”*, our motivational speaker’s point became clear…

Good teacher’s establish procedures and stick to them. Procedures. Routines. Order. Fascism. It works. I’ve seen it happen. Kids, especially the wild-ass kids at Shitty, respond real well to routine. It works, but it’s not me. Assigned seats. Procedures for turning in papers. Procedures for how to raise your hand. Procedures for how to ask for the bathroom pass. I hated all that shit when I was in school, and I hate it now.

I like freedom. Creativity. Poetry. Music. Birds. Nature. Puppies. All that hippie-dippie crap. “No hats in the classroom.” Man, I don’t care if you’re barefoot as long as you’re curious or something. It's not that I want to be the "cool teacher" or something, that's just pathetic, but I really am at my core a disorganized slacker type dude. Shit, I haven't brushed my hair in years, not even for my own wedding.

It hasn’t worked for me so far though, my lackadaisical style. Kids wile out, I tell them to quit. Kids go bananas, I tell them to quit. Kids do whatever the Hell they want, I start screaming and yelling like the scary dad from an after-school special.

*At this point does anyone out there not know that they are Bette’s hero?.

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