Thursday March 26, 1992

Some days the transmission never seems to get out of neutral. Today was one of those days. We went on, but it was a going through the motions kind of day rather than one that accomplished anything. I had planned to not do much, but when it came right down to it I wanted to use time rather than just let it slide by, but they were perfectly willing to sled all the way down the hill.

Hour 1, before the test, was a brief review of hypothesis and theory. They were as blank as usual, I know it isn't me because they did the same for Mrs. Korman, but it sure is exasperating to get cow faces looking back. They cannot connect though, which is even worse, we talked about the lung cancer alcohol connection and they just were too smart to see that people could once think anything So foolish. They believe what they are told to believe, and they cannot use their minds to even accommodate an alternative idea. Breakfast, as usual, was the aural equivalent of standing on an Air Force runway with no ear protection, and I walked around greeting some of my students and encouraging them to do their best (without, I hope, being too annoying). Then the stampede back to the classroom.

Nothing too exciting to discuss on test monitoring, other than the fact I*m glad that English wasn't the last test, for they had clearly lost interest (or were overwhelmed completely) by that time. The class degenerated into a chaotic, rowdy crowd that was behaving with cafeteria gusto. They all felt comfortable with their work, which is frightening because those I checked had done very poorly, and were very glad to be done. I was too. However, I see that MMATs will be administered in the same way, So these kids will lose all these days of instruction. We may never finish Orwell, do they even remember we were reading it?

Hour 5 agreed to be cooperative, but immediately reneged on their agreement. Some slept (are these kids really this tired that there is no way they can stay awake?) some did work for other classes. I want them to do well in all their subjects; this is what the proposed writing lab would be so good for. Some just fooled and played. Four of them were with me for the whole time, and that ain't many. We read (or I should say I read, as my objective is to finish) 1 1/2 chapters of Animal Farm, stopping only briefly to give details about what was going on. They will be totally lost as we reach the conclusion, if they are not now. However, no animosity between my battling babes, so the day was not a total loss. Maybe they have forgotten about their war. I'm beginning to think that Danika is using drugs, she is so erratic and spontaneous. Hour 6 had sheets prepared by Mr. Blank telling them where they stand and what they need to make up. Some are hopeless (including Gibson, who has missed about half the days of the quarter, despite the fact that his writing was the best in the class) and others are in serious trouble. This little episode took about 20 minutes to get clear; we then read 2 of the non-fiction papers to them and pointed out what was good and what was not so good. Most of it was good, and I was glad to have such positive things to relay. They are going to do a speech fourth quarter, and I hope what they*ve done here has given them a basis for doing some quality work. They will need even more encouragement to recover from this, since they won't let me read their papers (more today were reluctant, fear of praise? August, absolutely incapable of writing on the computer, dashed off parts of a story that are very, very good, and he doesn't believe that I am pleased. Can he be that insecure?) they are not going to be likely to stand in front of their peers and let fly. Or will they just be glib and off the cuff? Not my problem, unfortunately, since I think I could help them accomplish something.

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