"Fire is motion / Work is repetition / This is my document / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all we've done / We are all all defenses."

- Cap'N Jazz, "Oh Messy Life," Analphabetapolothology

Monday, June 07, 2010

end of year crazies

my 6th graders are merely 10 days away from the 7th grade!
which means i am only 10 days away from being done with my two-year TFA commitment and what has been a wild and enormously challenging and life-changing experience. i would be sad if i didn't feel i am really really reaaally earning my indefinite vacation from teaching.

just last week, i had my first fist fight of the year, which is a record, i think. (i believe last year it took only a matter of months). even more impressive, it didn't technically happen in my classroom, but outside my door during the 5-minute passing period. still, it was between two of my students, and since they are now both suspended and having parent conferences, i feel i can safely say that even without me providing my students a count down, they have already begun their familiar end of year race to the finish rituals.

the last weeks of the school year in LA go a little like this:
the heat turns up, and the AC's not working, so the kids are sweaty, uncomfortable, and honestly, a little stanky. (and this has been a fantastically chill summer in terms of temperatures, yet breaking past 75 in Culver City.)
the CSTs were several weeks ago, at the beginning of May, so the kids think they're "done" with school and with learning and they're sole purpose in coming to school is to hang out.
the administrators and some teachers too are getting laid off and losing their jobs, so they start giving little shit what happens on campus.
things inevitably start spiraling out of control before a huge crack down occurs, in which every "problem child" at the school gets sent home early for the summer, an "extended suspension." some good kids and some smart kids get caught up in the mix when they jump into a riot or a fight with their friends and/or siblings, and i lose some of my favorite students, like Ciera who looks like my friend dylan from college, or Salvador, a well-mannered hispanic boy who got caught up in a fight defending himself after someone socked him in the face.

just now i got an automated phone call from the school principal, a message intended for parents, explaining that if students are not kept at home by their parents for the "remainder of their suspension" (that is, the rest of the year) they would be cited for trespassing and fined. wow, what a message for the parents and community. STAY OUT OF OUR SCHOOL YOU HAVE WORN YOUR WELCOME, WE WILL USE FORCE AND LITIGIOUSNESS AND DEMEANING LANGUAGE IF NECESSARY.

at least some good news:
this evening, i got an email from my student Anthony, who wrote me to tell me this:
hi its me anthony i am learning more math because my mom is helping me on it so i am ready for the final test.and by the way this is anthony(last name) in your first and second period class.
i will be glad for all the drama and oppressive incompetence of LAUSD to be over, but i sure am going to miss my students. truth be told, they are the only reason i've been able to keep this up the whole time.
behold! the first ever picture of me and my class (minus several suspended students).

-miss lee

1 comment:

K. said...

Stephanie, you and your students look great! I'm so glad that you made it through TFA (not that I ever doubted you would, but I felt like when I was teaching I experienced low points that were so low they were hard for me to comprehend, & I can only assume you found yourself in a similar headspace some of the time.)

Where are you planning on going next?