Tuesday Feb 4, 1992

A day of contrasts that makes yesterday a vague memory. We saw a different group of people in the same rooms. Hours 1&2 were a DRTA on the final piece of the Odyssey, the killing of the suitors. There may be a little something to reconsider here do we really want to see a hero who kills a bunch of jerks who "deserve" killing? She gave them a sheet of paper with random significant phrases spread around the sheet, words like "old dog" "bow and arrow" "all were slain" "beggar" "contest" etc. They then tried to predict what the outcome of the story would be. They were inventive, and she was very lenient in connecting their predict ions with the act ion of the story. They liked being right, and especially when their predictions were somewhat outlandish and turned out to be right (within a broad context, at least). It worked well, and they paid attention to what was going on because they wanted to see their predictions vindicated.

Hour 3 is finishing their unit on black history, and they worked individually, with me reading their essays, helping them answer the assigned questions, and chatting with them about the readings. They are reasonably serious, and because they are they get good work done. It is a shame that they don't stretch their minds, because they could accomplish some rather remarkable things if they were willing to attempt the unknown.

Hour 5 was another vocabulary review of the same words as yesterday, in preparation for tomorrow 's test. They took a practice test, matching words and definitions from the board. 2 of the words were mis-spelled, and they had to find and correct them, which I think was an effective way to do this. Then they began an outline on AIDS, based on the in-depth research afforded by yesterday's documentary . They briefly went over the outline form, then began to fill in their blanks with some stuff they saw in the film. Though it was hardly comprehensive, and in many ways regurgitated the highlighted points the film made in the most blatant manner, I suppose the objective is not in depth analysis but controlled outlining using a reasonably comfortable template. As such, it will do what it is intended.

Hour 6, the second half of job search blues, was much better than yesterday. First, the real teacher was there (at least most of the time) and they behaved with more respect. Additionally, they were interested in the idea of making money. But they allow themselves to be beaten by the old excuses the big corporations won't hire blacks and they're afraid of intelligent black kids and all that garbage. I'm sick of the hand wringing self pity that keeps these kids from controlling themselves and instead allows them to continue to blame others for their own inactivity. Like the Irish, they wallow in a slop of their own making and say it's the others fault because they won't let them out. They are going to have to get out themselves, and doing so for them is going to have to be like the escape of any others, hard work and individual aggression based on a self worth that cannot be refuted and a knowledge that cannot be denied. This is clearly a group willing to speak their minds; I hope I can channel some of that energy into pursuits that are based on something other than the fatuous opinions of glib, uninformed minds.

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