Sunday, May 20, 2012

True Educational Hardship

I'm guessing it's "Africa hot" in this classroom, and
there's not a lot of desks to rest your head on.
I count 49 students in the frame
It's that time of year when normally disinterested students become completely disengaged.  Before the all-important standardized test, they are lethargic, distracted, unenthusiastic students.  Now that the test is over, they can no longer even keep their heads up!  After a long week, in hot, though not humid temperatures, and after a period of non-stop disruptions, disrespect and disinterest, I had to put things into perspective for my students (read that as "yell").  Yes, it is hot, but it's not physical labor I am requiring of these young people.  And they are sitting, and I am standing in heels, so buck up, kiddos.  If I'm working harder than anyone else in the class, then there is something very wrong.  I put together completely interactive and visual lesson plans that, if they were broken down any further, I'd need an atom smasher.  Every night I'm working on these lessons, or grading papers, or documenting everything.  The work of a teacher is never done.  And in return, I ask that they at least listen to the lessons, and engage their brains.  This is apparently far too much.
These students are not
distracted by a goat

No books to destroy here
And so, the yelling began.  And, as with all yelling, it worked temporarily.  It's not a great motivator, but I have to resort to it every once in a while.  I told them of a student that came to this country from Yemen, who spoke no English, and no one in the class spoke his native Arabic.  At the end of his first year, he scored the highest level possible on the math test in a language he had not yet mastered, not because he was smarter, but because he worked harder than a student has ever worked.  I mentionned how children in other countries are denied education based on their gender or ethnicity, or how they cannot attend school because it is dangerous to do so, or it's economically impossible.  For my final, rousing coup de grace, I told them how, to become a garbage collector, you have to pass a civil service exam and that there is math on that test.  That got their attention!  I did it!!  They paid attention...for the last 20 minutes of the class. 

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