Thursday, December 08, 2005

No Clever Title

I have taught roughly 300 students in 3.5 years, coached about 50, and interacted with at least twice that many, and in that time I have actively disliked two. One of the two is a current student. This student displays sociopathic tendencies insofar as he fails to recognize other people as equal to him in any regard, fails to see them as anything other than tools -- at best -- and non-entities at worst. People are useful, or they simply do not exist. In the classroom this manifests itself in predictable ways, none of them interesting, all of them disruptive. He is constantly limiting the educational process, and seemingly incapable of telling the truth or owning a single action. Yesterday he culminates weeks of harrassment by grabbing a female student between the legs and saying the awful, crude, harrassing things you can probably imagine easily.

And good God, is this why her attendance has been so awful?

Seeing him sitting in that chair after school, waiting for the suspension (which will hopefully be followed by expulsion and criminal charges), I... man, I wanted to smash that solipstic shell, wanted to do that climax of The Crow thing, "30 hours of pain, all at once." That little shit-ass smirk. That clucking/raspberry sound to express disdain. That utter lack of conscience. And then I hear about the other four who've been doing the same thing...

Today I twice dismiss the girls early and sit with the boys. I tell them, there are some boys at this school who think it is okay to say things to girls about their bodies, about their sexuality, about sex. There are some boys who think they are allowed to touch a girl. No. No. This is not only against our rules, it is against the law. The law. Making a girl feel uncomfortable does not make you cool, I say. It does not make you look hard, or tough, or mature. It makes you look like a weak, scared little boy. I ask if they plan on being men one day and they nod. Then learn this: A man never puts his hands on a woman without her permission. Never -- and as hand goes up -- and don't you dare say something about "just playing." Drop those weak elementary school ideas; we're talking about real life. A man never says anything about a woman's body to make her feel uncomfortable or make himself look good in front of his boys. Learn that. Think of what these girls have to go through, these girls who are part of our family at this school. Worrying about being touched, worrying about scared little boys saying things. And now think of your female cousins, your sisters, and your mothers... think about them, and if you want them treated that way.

I tell them to go and practice being men. And then I go home to write this and pummel the punching bag because there's nothing else I can do.


Blogger posthipchick said...

I love you.

7:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen you play handball. Your steez is ... weak.

8:05 PM  
Blogger ms. frizzle said...

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

8:30 PM  
Blogger pseudostoops said...

this world needs more boy teachers who don't suck. especially in middle schools.

4:54 AM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Ditto posthipchick, ms. frizzle and pseudostoops.

4:56 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Listen anonymous -- if that is your REAL name -- I can bring it. You think all that relationship-building handball I've been playing represents my true ability? Please. I hesitate to reveal my true abilities for fear that they would shock and awe the student population, leave them blind like that kid in England who stared too long at the solar eclipse.

7:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liz here from I Speak of Dreams. A heroic post. You have to sent this to the Carnival of Education this week, really you do. Why? Cause people have to read what it is really like.

And what a real teacher (like you) does to change kids' lives.

I think the submission is due Tuesday before 10:00 pm. What you do is email

with the URL (and to make it easy, the text).

6:58 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I had an eleven year old child, much like the one you described, in the after school program that I used to run. No remorse, no understanding of anyone's feelings. He said horrid, horrid things to a lot of the younger girls. Everything he did was about wanting to have power over the others. His parents were no help, they thought he was perfect and that the other kids were influencing him and causing his bad behavior. The day his mom told me that she was quitting her job and wouldn't need to have him in my care after school anymore was one of the happiest days of my life.

I had to work hard after that to make sure that his influence didn't stick with the other, more human, boys in the program. I think you were right on track talking to the boys in your school like that. I was really moved by your blog. Great job. I hope there are more like you out there.


7:41 AM  
Blogger TMAO said...

Liz, I emailed it to that address you mentioned, but have not heard back? What is this carnival business anyway?

12:21 PM  

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