Friday, June 10, 2011

Pawn to E4

Two school days left until the June Regents Examinations begin.

I remember last year, my first year of teaching, I was a little freaked out around this time. I didn't realize some students would still prioritize other things over school, especially in such a critical time. It's hard to generalize with my student population: some have legitimate problems going on in life while others are playing XBox live and thinking about what to get for munchies (funyans maybe?). These are the same students rarely show up, but always come to school on Friday because they know other pot dealers don't (at least they have some business acumen). Friday is as good a day as any to buy drugs.

This year, I'm a bit more prepared, professionally and mentally. I've already provided my students with comprehensive review materials. I'm coming into school Saturday for a couple of hours, making myself available to students willing to come in and prep for the test next week. I'm betting only five kids will show up. Last Saturday it was two. But good for them. They'll get my best effort and hopefully make something of it.

I'm actually quite excited about today. Why? Well, it’s hard to imagine (and I'm still finding this hard to believe), but I think my school actually has a chess club. What started with a couple of students playing every once in a while on a set my colleague owns has transformed into a 16-person chess tournament set to wrap up today.

The kids are actually into chess, which is fucking bizarre. I mean, yes, with some of my students, I can see them liking chess. Others however, I never thought fit the mold of what a chess player might look, talk or act like: I was not even aware of my own biases here. Quite frankly, it's pretty cool. And now, even some of the students who didn’t really have experience playing chess are asking teachers and students to coach them.

What’s best are the things I've heard as the kids play:
  • "Your bitch [queen] is mine."
  • "Imma fuck you up, lay your king down now, save you the trouble..."
  • "Yo Mista, I’m nice in chess. If you ever want to stop teaching and play me, I’d be okay with that.”
  • "Shit yo. It's like I’m doin’ bicep curls, but with ma brain. Hurts OD."
  • "Yo Mista, you doin’ regents prep during lunch or can we bring the boards in your room?"
I must admit, there's some talent in the club. I’m actually trying to avoid playing some of my own kids because I don't want to get my ass handed to me. Not yet anyway.

Must download chess on iPad. Must buy chess set for home.

Must practice.

Damn you kids for this!

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