Statistics and crime map…
Nov 30 Published in Remembrance, Reflections by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context.
Finishing Up November
The rain has been blowing sideways, knocking down tree branches, and causing power outages. I put a sign on the classroom door: Please wipe your feet.—The Management. My students troop in and wipe their feet with exaggerated movements, so that I notice. They are so sweet.
With the cold weather, I wonder, again, at our I.D. badge policy. If it was meant, as originally presented, as a way to spot outsiders on campus, how can that possibly work now that students and staff alike are bundled into their hooded sweatshirts, rain gear and jackets?
The students survived their oral reports. Some like Mark and Xochitl seemed naturally comfortable and poised before the class. Others like Becky barely looked up from her notes. Roberto and Gustavo were not prepared.
On the cold, gloomy mornings of Thursday and Friday, Amanda dropped by the room before school to hang out. On Thursday, she chatted again about her father, how his drinking got bad and he started to beat his wife and nine children.
“Your mom did the right thing to divorce him. Some women don’t have the courage.”
“I hate him,” Amanda remarked.
I ask about her new stepdad.
On Friday, Amanda was more animated. “Ms. Hansen, do you know that teacher in B11?”
The teacher in B11 is our Reading Specialist.
“You look alike,” she declared excitedly, as though no previous student might have ever pointed this out. Freshmen are so delightful this way. If it’s new to them, it must be new to the world. It makes grand discovery a regular occurrence. Maybe that’s why they’re called freshmen.
Since I became officially menopausal this year, I have a lot in common with my freshmen; I’m in a transitional period, at the mercy of my hormones. To paraphrase our library technician, I’ve reached a time in my life where I think a lot about the hereafter. I find myself here and wonder what I’ve come after.
In truth, Amanda’s observation was annoying. The resemblance between the Reading Specialist and me is superficial. We both have our hair dyed a similar auburn and cut over our ears with shaggy, slightly spiky layers on top. We also both have high Native American cheekbones. The Reading Specialist has a significant percentage of Indian blood, and I have a smidgen of Algonquin blood. Even though I can see why the students think we look alike, I don’t necessarily feel complimented. The Reading Specialist is eight years older than I am, has brown eyes while I have blue, and is heavier set.
At the end of the day, I was summoned by e-mail to attend a Language Review Team meeting on Wednesday, December 12th during fourth, fifth and sixth periods. A roving substitute would cover my classes. The team meeting on that day would include a counselor, the bilingual resource teacher, and teachers of the students being reviewed. While I have some interest in the meeting, that is when I have my students’ oral book reports scheduled. Most substitutes would not be comfortable evaluating them, and I wouldn’t be comfortable allowing them to do so. The reports are the culminating activity of the semester, demonstrating both the students’ oral skills and knowledge of literature.
I shot off a memo to the powers in charge. With luck they won’t demand that I attend.