Friday, February 17, 2006

You know, I don't stand a Chance

After a while they always get it
They always reach a sorry end
Still it was worth it as I turned the pages solemnly, and then
With a winning smile, the boy
With naivety succeeds
--- Belle & Sebastian, "Get Me Away From Here, I'm Dying"

Only worked for three hours today. left at noon to go to H Elementary to do my observation.

I was in a 6th grade class, where they were doing TAKS practice. It was not a pleasant experience. Not only was it boring sitting there watching them write silently, one or two of the boys were incredibly disruptive and unruly. Rude noises, pencil tapping, loud and conspicuous pencil sharpening, laughing, the works. Again, the teacher, who seemed reasonably competent, did next to nothing. What makes this kids act like proudly ignorant, socially oblivious monsters? And why can't the teachers do anything about it? Midway through the hour, she approached me and said, "And now the special ed kids come in and it gets really interesting." And sure enough, chaos flared briefly when they walked in. Public education. What a joke.

The second hour was taken up with the same 4th grade class as before. In contrast, this class was mostly quiet, and when the kids were disruptive, it was just inoffensive, normal kid behavior, not the aggressive boundary-pushing of the troublesome 6th graders. These children were much more respectful and polite, as well. How do these endearing, even if slightly dopey, kids turn into the 6th grade creeps I saw? Is it the age difference? Their teachers' expectations and attitudes? Home life? There is an odd difference in demographic at H Elementary; the two upper grades seem to have a larger percentage of low-SES and special ed kids than K-4. Do the wealthier parents take their kids to private schools at 5th grade, or has the school's demographic changed?

I came home after observation and took a too-brief nap. Then it was back to H for unpaid babysitting, otherwise known as Parents' Night Out. About six of my fellow State School students and I passed out pizza and juice, supervised puzzles and coloring, and watched the kids go crazy in the gym. It was three hours of mild boredom in return for three big extra credit points in Ms. P's class! Hooray!

On the way home, I called Spookytooth and we talked about work and other trivia. This is the first time in my life I've slept with a woman with whom I wasn't in a relationship mutually understood to be serious and long-term. This was more of a casual recreation thing: "thank you, I had fun, we aren't dating." I believe there's a term that starts with F and ends in "buddies." Speaking of slang terms, I came across the word "slumpbuster" today to describe an unattractive, approachable woman (or man, as the case could be). I guess everyone is somebody's idea of a slumpbuster.

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