Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hindsight

I'm on vacation right now in Karachi and I shouldn't blog, but I have to.

I left for vacation the day my Algebra students took their New York State Regents Examinations. I would be lying if I said I wasn't curious as to how they did. Actually, it's been a dull hunger that goes away with just the right amount of entertainment, but comes right back the second I'm not in the moment with something. I mean for fuck's sake, they're my students, I ought to know how they did.

When I logged in for the first time yesterday and saw the summary of results, I felt a variety of things. Pride wasn't one of them. The initial numbers were quite disappointing.  Fuck man, there were a lot of failures. There were success stories too, and a few very surprising success stories (and I mean very surprising - which makes me question a lot of other things). I let my emotions get the best of me because I immediately closed the spreadsheet and put my fist to my mouth.
Is it me? I thought.
No. I quickly opened up the spreadsheet again and this time clicked on the "details" tab to view each student's individual score. Now things made sense. Most of the students in my 7th period class (the last period of the day) failed. That wasn't shocking - a lot of them were intelligent, but barely came to class - I can only hope what they were doing when they weren't in my class was worth having to sit for another Algebra Regents exam. Stupid fucks. Yeah, I said it.

The majority of the he-said-she-said group also failed - you know who you are. You guys who would rather spend my class time talking about things so irrelevant that it made me want to put a packet of popcorn in the microwave and actually listen in just so I could make fun of you in my head later. You clearly didn't put in the time or effort. See you next year (I have a smirk on my face right now).

The diligent, hard working types who failed - you are the ones who made my insides cry. I don't know what happened. But I promise you, it's not all your fault. I saw you come everyday, try your best and take things seriously. For you guys, things will fall into line eventually - it's just a matter of time. I have learned a lot from you and for that, I am extremely thankful. In the end, it's just a test and I'm confident you'll kill it the next time (provided you put in the same effort or more).

The ones who passed (surprisingly or unsurprisingly) - you have proven to the rest of your peers that what we learned all year was indeed for something. You have proved to your peers that it is not an impossible test, but in reality, quite easy. All you had to do was some put time,effort and apply logic. I'm proud of you all. You can go on and take geometry or stay away from math entirely. Whatever it is you choose, I wish you the best.

I feel a lot better already. This experience has taught me that although I have some strengths, there are some loose ends to be tied in my classroom. Next year is going to be interesting and I look forward to it. More blogging to come once I get back from the motherland.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

:3 Zip it & just enjoy your time being!!! I mean at least some passed. :).
"stupid fucks". Well, at least youre honest?

Miss Warreb said...

Brilliance is funny.

You watch it in babies
in fingers and toes and smiles and you think about possibility.
You watch it in yourself
and learn that pride tastes like doubt and fear.
You watch it in others
and wonder how you can make sure it never blinds everyone from you.
It would be easy (too easy, really) to let them shine under you
to be jack-o-lantern and toothy-grinned
but corny as it is, knowledge is trump card
and once you learn that the moon don’t shine
that it only reflects the sun
you never look at it quite the same.

There are four walls.
Four walls, one ceiling, one floor
and too many thoughts that don’t have file cabinets for them.
This room is dead and dying all at once,
the reason
that we know that abortions can happen years after a birth.
There are four walls.
Four walls, one ceiling, one floor
and thirty-two chairs.
One substitute and twenty-one kids who figured that being a sheep meant
walking off a cliff to their deaths and decided to smother themselves in their own wool.
Shepherds in the first room draw lesson plans on the walls
and come back to them painted over.
Sheep in the second room begin wondering about wolves.
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me but they miss that.
Confusion breeds contempt and they begin to hate what they know.
Sheep forget.
They don’t know much
but they know love
and teeth don’t feel like love.

You love a lot
for someone that small
and someone that White.
Usually you need something to springboard off of
like hope
or some shit like that
maybe some ineffable belief in the American dream
but you love in a vacuum.

This shit sucks.

They forget that when you throw diamonds into muck
that it don’t take much to clean em up
and make em better than before.
Shine is constant.
When you stop shining
you stop breathing
you stop being eternal
you stop caring.

There are four walls.
Four walls, one ceiling, one floor
and every reason in the world to believe in your own light.

Brilliance is real funny.

-Naia F. (one of my first students, now in her 3rd year at college)

Yo Mista said...

@ Anonymous: Honesty is one of my weaknesses.

@ Warren: Wow, that was lovely!