< Upheaval

Thursday, March 09, 2006

To meet the requirements of my graduate school grant, I have to intern in a special education classroom about 12 hours a week. Last semester, I was in an elementary school with kids who needed help reading. This semester I am at the middle school (6th-8th grade), also doing remedial reading. Without betraying confidentiality, let me give you some background on some of these kids.

1) One of them has sixteen siblings, all from the same father.

2) One has missed 65 days of school since September.

3) One has a tattoo up her (HER!) calf.

4) One uses the "f word" on a daily basis to try to rattle my cage.

5) One has been indicted for sexual harrassment.

6) One has metal teeth encrusted with diamonds. This is a permanent fixture, cemented over the ground nubs of his teeth.

7) One has called me a b****, just because I asked her to read out loud.

8) One has been shot in a drive-by.

I feel like I should be at an inner-city school, but my town is SMALL! These are small town kids! One day a couple of weeks ago, one of the girls looked up from her reading and asked me a sexually explicit question that floored me. I am too embarrassed to write what it was, but I had only recently heard the term and was not sure how to answer her. Finally, I said, "If you want to stay after class and talk about it, we can. But we aren't going to discuss that right now. It is time for reading."

Of course, she didn't stay after. I am sure she just wanted to shock our little reading group.

All of this is to say that I feel really sad about our kids. I am not talking about our biological children - we can each do our part to ensure that our own children succeed, but what about these other kids? These guys read on a first grade level, and they are almost able to drive! How did this happen? How can we expect to compete with other countries if this is the quality of student that we produce? Do we just push them through, so they more quickly become a drain on society?

What is the answer???

All this stress and worry makes me tired. I think I'll go put Dillon in front of MTV for awhile, drink a margarita and take a nap. Maybe later I can solve the world's problems.


Blogger Trinity13 said...

Those are small town kids...huh. It's makes me think about the kids here in my part of town. I feel like I'm in a good area, but you just never know.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

I am not following the whole Tea Bag sexual inuendo thing... are you sure you don't want to explain?

11:54 AM  
Blogger Amanda Sue said...

pretty sure, ben.

ask a middle schooler.

2:21 PM  
Blogger Jennboree said...

THAT is hilarious about the tea bag. I didn't ever know that till I started watching HBO. You can learn alot on HBO.

Sadly, our edumacation system does push children through, especially those deemed "special ed".

You do remember the brown hall at NHS, don't you?

2:44 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

I don't know about the tea bag either. Anyone want to e-mail me and explain it?

My mom is a substitute teacher and she had an EIGHTH GRADE class last week that had TWO girls in it who had babies. Eighth grade. I cannot believe this.

5:55 PM  
Blogger Texas Truth said...

I do know how you feel. Welcome to EDUCATION IN THE 21ST CENTURY.

I have been in the classroom for 28 years (29 if you include student tecahing). I know it is rough, but don't back down.

I had a teacher that I student taught for in 1978 told me to read the book "Dare to Discipline" by Dr. James Dobson. It has a chapter about teaching and discipline.

You have to act like a "bitch". I mean it. Not trying to be degrading, but that is what it takes. My wife, who is also a teacher with 27 years experience agrees.

Don't take no crap off of nobody.

When they find out you mean business, things will get better.

Special education is tough, but they should have something in the ARD that deals with what they do and discipline.

Some SpEd students think they can get away with everything becasue they are labeled as such.

Hang in there and do the job. It WILL get better.

And yes.......a good stiff drink at the end of the day does help. :)

4:38 AM  
Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

yipes! And no, I don't think I'm getting the tea reference either, but I'll take your word for it.

1:24 PM  
Blogger koyama said...

OH man, I don't get the tea bag thing either. I really admire your patience for the line of work you are in.

7:57 PM  

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