Saturday, February 18, 2006

Challenge Week

To say the least, this day was chalk full of distractions for my classes.

First of all, it was the week before vacation. At our school, we have a "ski week" in February, instead of all the three day weekends. This makes for some interesting behavior, much like the behavior on the week before Christmas Break. Many of the students were restless, and the many of my Intro students were really pushing the limits of the class rules, thinking they are adults ("I'm 18, I don't have to take this shit" kind of attitude), while acting like little children. I makes for interesting classroom management.

Then theirs Valentine's Day. Well, I swear that I didn't even think about the Day of Love when I scheduled a test for that very Tuesday. The students really didn't mind, they are used to being prepared for anything. It was the students that were dealing with the other crap that seemed to not understand the way I work. Some rude student came into our building during break and asked if, on Valentine's Day, they could deliver roses and sing for the student getting it. Knowing that a test was going to be on that day, I said "no". Apparently, the local Thespian Society on campus didn't understand my "no", and interrupted my test, much to my anger. Add on the fact that their was chocolate wrappers all over the place, and students carrying around a hundred dollars in roses (which made many other students feel totally out of place), and you have a day of total non-focus.

Then there's Challenge Day. I know that I'll be called totally politically incorrect about this, so if you are one of those people that think that school is for touchy feely kinds of things, you might as well stop reading. Challenge Day is a three day long bender regarding this mission:

Challenge Day provides youth and their communities with experiential workshops and programs that demonstrate the possibility of love and connection through the celebration of diversity, truth and full expression.

For those three days, students do a lot of expression, a lot of laughs and tears, and very little of anything in the classroom. You see, Challenge Day just happens to occur during school on these three days that they attend. During these three days of self-expression, my Seniors, some of whom could be failing, attend this workshop and leave the academic world behind. Just simply another damn distraction, and another thing I will have to explain to parents when they want to know why their kid is not making it. I understand the need for some social therapy for students, but how about after school? Maybe on the weekends? When I brought this up with one of the people running the gig, they told me "Well nobody would show up." Really? You don't say. That should be a sign then, if nobody shows up unless you bait them by saying, "Hey look, get out of your classes for three days!". On top of that, this year they decided to have it on campus at our school. Guess where on campus. That's right! MY GYM! The little concrete gym that the freshmen have to practice in! I called the coordinator and reminded her (I wasn't told by them, a P.E. teacher told me they were using it) that I had basketball practice at 4 p.m. Sure enough, at 3:45 on practice day, I come in to find the gym to be a total disaster. Tables and chairs are everywhere. Challenge Day folks are standing around acting as if nothing needs to be done. And finally the gym floor. If you took a cube of Pepsi, and opened them up one-by-one, and then dumped them all over the gym floor, then you would have an idea when my floor looked like. Thankful, the gym custodian was nice enough to stop is normal routine and use the machine to wash and scrub the floor. We were 15-20 minutes late getting in, but at least we got in. If you have a great custodian, be thankful. I know I am.

So hopefully the teaching aspect of school can resume on the Monday we return. This other stuff is nothing be distracting.
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