Today, a student drew a likeness of me standing by a likeness of her. She was saying, in a cartoon bubble, “Me you ugly.” I think that was her way of writing a little micro-screenplay where she was writing her part, as in, “Me: You ugly.” I did have a cute little flipped-up-at-the-end hairdo, and my skin was shaded in, while hers was not. This does not reflect the physical reality of our skin tones, which makes it that much more intriguing and avant garde, I guess. I am what is known in polite circles as Super Caucasian. In less formal terms, I have been described as a “White Cracker.” In her view, I must inhabit the dark side, though. This is due to the fact that I took issue with her telling another student to “Shut the f— up.” I’m outrageous like that. Even more outrageous, I asked her to write something in paragraph form. My students view this as tantamount to waterboarding, especially when I slip in the requirement of using periods. So she was pissed, as well she should have been.
You are going to be extra mad at me when I tell you that I stood between a kid and his destiny today. It’s true. And I am deeply sorry. I have a student who gives me resentful looks when I ask him to follow ANY direction within thirty minutes of uttering the direction. He looks as if he is planning his return to school with semi-automatic weapons, because I have the unmitigated gall to suggest that he should not be using his scissors to create a mini-snowdrift of paper cuttings underneath his desk. But that is not the destiny to which I refer. After the scissor confiscation, I looked over toward where his homicidal looks should have been leveled in my direction, and I noticed that he was no longer inhabiting an above-desk profile. “WTF?” think I to myself. At this point, I noticed that he was underneath his desk–communing with the paper cuttings, apparently. In predictable teacher fashion, I merely shot HIM a look, and said, with gusto, “No!” Well, apparently, he was “repairing” his desk. And when I say “repair,” I mean “disassemble.” A few minutes later, he stole the show when his desk essentially collapsed. No stranger to desks being kicked, thrown, and vandalized, I held out my hand to receive the two bolts that had miraculously loosened themselves. WHO FIXED THE DESK? Come on! You know it was Peachy!
There are precious few “vocational” paths these days, and even fewer “Become A Skilled Tradesman But Only Do Your Trade When You Feel Like It” paths available. My student is unlikely to succeed at taking shit apart as a career path, not so much because we don’t need folks to TAKE shit apart, but because their bosses will expect them to take shit apart WHEN THEY SAY SO, not when they are good and ready. There’s the rub.
Last thing: scholars, am I off-base with this next item? When I studied Multiple Learning Styles, I did not see the categories, “Lazy,” “Obnoxious,” or “Making Fart Noises.” Research this, will you? Thanks.