Tuesday, February 12, 2019

the horrible thing is, i come home, and my junior high kids are having a kind of party. one girl has her friend over, while the boy is chilling on the couch; their music is competing. why is the friend over? because she lives way out in the country and needs a ride which we haven't promised; she has to wait for mom or dad. why is the boy on the couch instead of his room? long story there too.

my day is three classes, over twenty each, of sixth graders learning basic graphing and such kind of math skills. sixth grade math. i'm a permanent sub. they've removed my partner and i'm in there all alone with three batches a day of wild animals. they haven't had a regular teacher in a while, so they tend to want to see what they can get away with.

they got into the supplies today. someone had overused lotion and they went after the kleenex, and pretty soon they were throwing whole boxes of them around the room. they just reached in and grabbed them. trying to make me yell or get angry i guess; they know they can get away with this stuff sometimes because if i'm angry enough, i'll lose it and then they'll have beaten me too. i won't lose it. they can be real jerks. but they know better.

one girl broke into tears because she couldn't concentrate. she had also been rejected by another girl when it came time to assign partners. they need partners or they won't get it. but sometimes choice of partners changes their grade. maybe i shouldn't do partners. but i find it in the groove with current educational theory. they also like partners sometimes, as they actually learn more from each other than from me.

one boy got virtually nothing done. i tried to get him to focus but he wouldn't. finally i threatened him with iss, in-school suspension. i believed it might be good to stick him in a room where he'd simply be alone and wouldn't have other kids to keep distracting him. in the end i probably should have - he got nothing done. nothing. zero.

life goes on. tomorrow i give them the standardized test. they all know what that means, and they pretty much blow that off too. well i should say, some of them blow it off. they're kind overtested, to the point that they don't even think much about it. they do what they can and give up. they don't consider it life-altering in any way.

what bothers me is, my kids are just like those kids. so at home, my son is putting -uh on every word, to complain, and using words like "lit," maybe to impress his sister's friend. or just to be a teenager. it's not like i've never seen wildness. it's not like i didn't just witness an entire day of it.

the day will, eventually, end. i stepped out for a walk with the high school student and there was some guy with a flashlight at the neighbor's house, with his pitbull. he'd grabbed the pitbull. i think he, too, was a neighbor, after his stray wandering pitbull, but i wasn't sure. he was walking up and down the neighbor's house with that flashlight, and....but why would you take a pitbull to rob a house? well partly because a guy like me would never question your motives. it rattled me. the town was just a little too busy.

we're planning on moving way out there. where elk and deer are our main neighbors. where gunshots are relatively common, and we might start making our own pretty soon. wouldn't hurt to be able to kill a deer, my wife says. trouble is, you have to know what to do with it when you kill it. it seems like a bloody mess to me, but yet, that's what living off the land is, around here. helps with the grocery bills, they say. puts meat on the table.

finally i got this conversation around to something healthy. those kids don't want to be in school. math? they can't relate.


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