Monday March 2, 1992

A new month but all too much more of the same. Is this what I want to spend my time doing? When you fantasize, you dream about spreading the love of learning and discovering the depths of beauty in literature while leading the crowd to recognize the value and power of language. You sit in there and it's like pulling a wagon without any wheels while they all sit and stare at you as if you're offering a choice between losing an arm or a leg. I say "Let's go up" and they reply "Nooooo" so I say "Let's go down" to which they reply "We don't want to go down" So I say "OK, let's stay here" and they then say "We're not staying here". Mildly confused, I ask where they want to go, to which they reply "We don't know".

Hour 1 generated my first conference card. We got back into Animal Farm and they said the usual things like "Are we still reading this dumb book?" and "How long is this stupid thing anyway?". We managed to get through Chapter 3, but I know they weren't paying any attention and their comprehension skills are so low that I am sure they have no idea what is going com. Anytime I stop to ask what's going on, or what a word means, they have no idea no matter how long I wait they are more patient. Anyway, Robert was being even more rude and tiring than usual. He was snotty not only to me but to come of the girls (I'm surprised she didn't hit him). At one point he said "Shut up bitch" to which she replied some kind of drop dead stuff. He then said "I'm giving you to five"; I asked if he was threatening, and he said "You can take it any way you want". I told him to leave. Class was much better after that, though I hate to resort to such totalitarian measures.

Hour 2 also managed to hear and say the words to Chapter 3, though I would be quite reluctant to use the word "read". It was the perpetual putting out fires stuff that makes me crazy "Aisling, please stop" "John, this way please" etc. come of the girls, while I was leading them through the chapter and asking them questions said "Quit asking so many quest ions and just read". I replied that they wouldn't understand what they were reading, but they didn't care. They didn't make me insane, but they certainly didn't fill me with a sense of task completed. They don't care enough to even be stupid one of my thorns is a gang banger one named David who wants to be tough but is merely stupid. I am going to talk to him and ask for his cooperation. Will I get it? He doesn't much respond to direct pleas for help. Hour 3 is short 2 regulars Tyrone is suspended again and Stephan is kicked out also. So the four of us had a (I hope) interesting discussion of the French Revolution, dictators, and Chapter 3. It went well, and not just because they are more interested and less troublesome. Somehow, they manage to tune in to what is going on and actually think without being led quite so baldly. They are hardly analytical geniuses, but they do work with me and toward a common goal. It is quite pleasant, and of course I am a better teacher if I perform in an environment full of eager learners.

Hour 5 had to spend the first 15 minutes attempting to fill out the answer sheets for the standardized reading test they have to take tomorrow. We finally got into chapter 3, but we had a new student (one actually enrolled in the course but seen by me for the first time today) and he managed to be disruptive (though he is a good reader). They are the most reluctant and also the most eager to be given worksheets and follow-the-teacher papers. They also want to be allowed to read without having to understand what they are doing just go through the motions of reading and say it is done.

Hour 6 went to the computer room and had their first taste of WordPerfect, a taste few of them found pleasant. But they trudged on, and will go back tomorrow for a second dip. They don't have any idea about how to write I wanted them to feel a little insecure about what to do and then we'll try the pre-writing stuff. It always seemed to me that need is necessary before one is willing to engage in those activities, and by Wednesday most of them will be desperate. We will then do a little brainstorming, a little clustering, and a little connect the dots stuff as we see what makes a paragraph. I hope we have time to get through. Writing is what they need, though something that won't be tested on standardized tests.

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