Thursday, February 13, 2014

Why Did We Do This?

I went in this morning, and passed two accidents on my way. Several teachers in my school told me they narrowly averted disaster when a truck jackknifed on the LIE.

When I arrived an administrator, a security guard and I went out to the trailers. There was a lot of snow, but it wasn't slippery or anything. Anyone dressed for outside could handle it. Of course, a lot of kids don't dress properly. However, a girl I was kind of worried about showed up today in a winter coat rather than the hoodie she tends to favor, so that made me happy. In fact, four other kids showed to that class, and only two were late.

There didn't seem a whole lot of point in starting a lesson I'd have to repeat, so we mostly just talked. There was a pretty interesting show going on outside, what with all the people coming and going. Some custodians were out shoveling, and we couldn't help but notice that everything they cleaned turned white almost immediately. In fact, we began to see sleet and ice, and it didn't seem safe keeping the trailers open anymore.

I teach two double-period classes, and the second took place in the auditorium. I had exactly three students. Most kids I spoke with today told me of parents who forced them out the door.

I'm not altogether sure that the school hot lunch was worth the hour wait for the buses. I don't hear a whole lot of love for school lunches from my kids, who come from other countries and are nonetheless horrified by what passes for pizza in school.

I walked past classrooms with four or five kids. I saw one that appeared to have fifteen. One colleague told me she had 22 in one of her classes, and explained that was because she was incredibly popular and beloved by her students. But when she told me she had, respectively, 4, 7, 3, and 6 in her others I had to doubt her story.

The worst part of my day was when I went outside to find my car plowed in by our excellent sanitation department. They did an incredibly thorough job. I couldn't shovel it out, and I couldn't pull it out, but a very helpful custodian managed to rock it back and forth until it escaped. It took a good five minutes. I have never been stuck like that in a modern car before. Back when I was a poor musician driving $200 cars it was a way of life, but I've forgotten the art, it seems.

All in all, it was a waste of time for my students, and likely for most others. I hope they really savored that cardboard pizza, if that's why they came. Were I Carmen Fariña, and worried about kids getting lunch, I'd find a way to provide activities and serve kids lunch in their neighborhoods, rather than have them travel to city schools that may or may not be nearby.

Personally, I don't think kids learned anything today, other than we should have closed the schools.
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