Saturday, January 10, 2009

Slow Start

I apologize for the light blogging. To be honest I have had a hard time getting back into the groove of teaching and everything that goes along with it. I didn't even feel like I was doing anything worthwhile until Wednesday even though the poetry units are going better than I had hoped. I have kids participating who never participate in a good way. The unit plan is not going as smoothly as I want but since this is my first go round with teaching poetry I'm pretty satisfied.

We had an interesting assembly Friday at the school. The principal had been hearing our students call each other nigger (or is it nigga?) while in the halls, at practice or in class and decided that something needed to be said. Keep in mind that the student population is 98 or 99% black so this is not an unusual occurrence. I've heard it myself a time or two and have let the students know how much I despise that word. So the principal starts talking about the use of the word and then says it himself, oh did I mention that he's white? Now he said it to show how ugly the word is and why it's not acceptable to use it on campus. Then three teachers, all of whom are black, all tell about how ugly that word is. One of our teachers was at the University of Alabama when the Governor made his famous segregation now and forever speech. The other who teaches history, told the students the real history of the word and how the meaning of that word can never be changed. He was so passionate that he had students and teachers misty eyed.

I of course had to throw in my two cents after the assembly and explained how the choices that they make impact their community. I tried to explain to them the damage that 'gansta' rap does to their community and that every time they buy that CD or see that video or go to that concert they are reinforcing all the stereotypes about blacks as thugs etc. I made a point of showing how women are treated in lyrics and videos and asked them if they wanted their mom's sister's cousin's etc called bitches, whores and sluts. I asked them if they wanted the ladies in their lives to be treated as an object to be used and discarded. I don't know if I changed any minds, but I do know that I made them think.

Finally, my student teaching 'starts' this semester. So I suppose all last semester was just 16 weeks of batting practice? The good thing is this is my last semester of school at Nevada State College. I plan on taking a couple of years off before I start working on my masters. I've been in school every semester (spring, summer and fall) since 2003 and I really need a break.