Thursday Feb 6, 1992

Hours 1 and 2 were replicas of yesterday: more studying (I think it is really babying) and then many kids took the test. It was very easy, and I wish there had been a bit more punch to it. The questions were (of course) mere duplicates of those on the study sheet and those who had those things memorized did fine. Our educational system seems to prize short term memory, for, from kindergarten through graduate school the multiple choice test of arcane information reigns. Once the test is done, the info is forgotten before the student leaves the room. I think tomorrow in Mr. Reynolds' class I will give them a retest of their last two vocabulary tests. Anyway, I tutored again, helping a boy who hasn't been there for the last 3 weeks and who missed the entire unit get a 30 minute synopsis of the Odyssey by reading a paragraph here and a paragraph there. We'll see how he does on the test tomorrow.

Hour 3 was the usual 3 and a new boy we may never see again (a common trait among late arrivals is that they show up once and never return). I spent most of the hour with him, discussing what they have been doing up to now and helping him answer the questions about the short pieces they've been reading.

Hour 5 was the big moment my first real class as the real teacher. The plan was to introduce myself, give a little background (these kids find it both incredible and disgusting that I would be in school at this advanced age) and prepare them for tomorrow's class in which they will introduce themselves to me. After my talk about where I've been and how I got here, we discussed the school and what makes a good school. Tomorrow we will go to what makes a good teacher. I hope that if they buy into the program they will have the opportunity to recognize they are there voluntarily and it is their best advantage to accomplish something. There were spunky and a bit rowdy, but the class was never out of control. I tried to enforce my rule of "When I talk you listen, when you talk I listen and if you don't want me to listen then don't talk" and it went fairly well. I have one 10th grader who I think I can connive into a partnership and he can help me keep order and get the class moving.

Mr. Blank's hour 6 was a mess. They had 2 character sketches to create from a bit of information on the board (things like "Person 1 has Rolling Stone magazine, sandals, a big tub of peanut butter, an expensive stereo and 300 albums, describe this person") some did well, some did poorly, but most had only nominal command of the language. They write as they speak "He do this" or "He got a nice car" or "His house be all junky" which will not suffice. Mr. Blank always seems to have something else to do so we haven't had a chance to discuss this too fully, but I hope he will enlighten me as to what he expects and what he accepts from this class of 11th graders.

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