Choose, Fuckers! or... Not How I Wanted It To Be
So yesterday it was normal absurdity x10. I stopped class twice, and handed out three "Reality of School" essays, the worst consequence I have, requiring students to copy an essay subtitled "Why Am I Here," which contains great insights such as: "The teachers at this school know more than I do about what will be worthwhile and useful for me in the future. They are here to provide me with information and skills that will make me a better prepared and more self-confident individual. Because I am a teenager, and completely irrational, I may not appreciate that right now, but I will one day..." Finally, I just stopped. I made them sit with straight backs, staring at two statements written on the board:
I need a teacher.
I need a baby-sitter.
Then I sat down, and we remained like that for over a half hour.
Eventually, I passed out post-it notes and made them choose which statement was true, explaining that I could teach them or baby-sit them; it was their choice, but while I was a pretty good teacher, I was a horrible baby-sitter, and only knew how to make them sit with their hands folded in a dark room. When the votes came back saying they needed a teacher, I explained everything that needed to change, underlining the reality that in the absence of those changes we would spend periods 3, 4, and 5 sitting still and staring at the board. Then I made them choose again. At that point it had been dark and silent for 47 minutes. I told them to silently put their folders away, go home and really think about what they wanted.
"If you are truly ready to face the world with the academic skills of a 3rd grader, then fine. Admit it to me, admit to yourself, and we'll find another place for you to be. If reading, writing, and analyzing like a 3rd grader is all you want, let's stop pretending. If that's all you want, you're wasting your time and my time. Go get a job..."
Man, I hate this shit. This isn't what I want, this isn't how I want it to be, but keeping going like we were would be stupid and worthless.