Friday, April 22, 2005

Of car shows and gang fights

Well, wasn't today an interesting day.

First off, this morning was one of those mornings where the alarm went off at 5:15, and I managed to actually make it out of bed around 6. My wife and I talked a little about the house, and were trying to figure out reasons to stay home. We could find none. My wife was going to do some interesting things with her kids today, and I really love my job. I just hate mornings.

Intro was pretty good today. They watched the news and calculated revenue for 12 possible Food Court Resturants. College Prep was also very good. They worked on the Stock Market Project and Economics Expo. It was the other events that made the day interesting.

During break, between 2nd and 3rd period, I went on a newspaper hunt. By that I mean I go to the office and try to round up a school newspaper on days that it comes out. It's a little tradition that I keep. Anyway, on my way to the office, I noticed that the quad was almost totally empty. Bad sign. Then a campus supervisor burst out of the office and yelled that help was needed at the small tri (an area near the middle of campus). I hustled over there with her to find, you guessed it, the Reds and Blues (Norteno and Sureno) were lined up hurling gang signs, insults and threats. Apparently, I had missed something much bigger and caught the tail end of it. Until I know more, I won't speculate. I just entered the frey with a happy, "And how are we today, gentlemen?". Then, there were supervisors, administrators and teachers everywhere. Not that it stopped the bangers from yappin, because they continued non-stop. The result? 5-8 arrested. 2 might have been from my class. Hopefully there will be expulsions.
Then there was the car show. For the second year, the auto shop put on a show where a bunch of people show off their rides for everyone to see. It is the perfect example of a total distraction.....that you kind of like. Since I teach Intro, I have a large amount of kids who have massive potential in vocational arts (we have a huge vocational program here), and little in academics. Most of my Intro kids will not go to college, and half of those that do will drop out. But if you blindfold some of them and ask them to put an engine together, they could. So 4th period was when this car show started to take place, with lunchtime being open to the public. Well over half my 4th period was gone. Most of them had cars entered at the show or were involved in running it. The rest of my class was ansy to get out and see it. So I took roll and made a deal with them. Give me 45 minutes of straight group work and we take the final 10 minutes of class to take a small field trip to the parking lot for the car show. They agreed, and followed through completely with their end of the deal. Now, you might think it is a poor use of class time. I call it a Friday afternoon right before lunch were I can continue to establish a relationship with the students through the end of the year. The students enjoyed the car show with no problems. They stayed at the show, respected the cars and even cheered on a couple of entries from our class. The cars were loud, tricked out and expensive. 25 total entires this year, up from 15 last year. I voted the simple and classy, referbished 1967 Chevy Malibu as the Best of Show.
So next week promises to be very interesting. The interviews for a new principal happened today, which means updates next week. The gang fight will have reprocussions. And STAR testing begins in 2 weeks (aren't we excited).
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