Some incidents in the life of a progressive school
Some incidents in the life of a progressive school:
--In homeroom, the kids are telling each other about themselves. One girl, a ninth-grader, says, "I am boy-crazy. And I love to eat! I'm hungry all the time." A twelfth grade boy says under his breath, "If you like boys, and you're hungry all the time, I'll give you something to eat!" He and his friends laugh. The teacher, who probably heard what he said, says, "I'm glad you're comfortable enough to have jokes." This teacher, in the previous period, had taught a lesson on institutional racism, as defined by Cornel West.
--During a similar "homeroom circle," one boy talks out, loudly, again and again. He interrupts people with renditions of his favorite rap songs. No one tells him to stop. Not once. It continues for an hour. No one talks to him after class.
--Someone's cell phone rings in class. There is a rule against cell phones, but there are no consequences attached to breaking it. Another person's cell phone rings. Two kids listen to music on a cell phone. They are told to stop. Two minutes later, it is out again.
--A student who has never done one piece of homework interrupts the teacher at the end of class, chanting "what's the homework? what's the homework?" Annoyed, but joking, she replies, "What do you care? You don't do the homework." The class laughs. The boy is not used to this kind of straight talk. He leaves the room a minute early. The teacher apologizes profusely. She decides she shouldn't be so hard on students. The boy doesn't turn his homework in on Monday.
--During group work, one girl is trying to do the assigned task. Three of her classmates are goofing around, annoying one another and her. There is no accountability for any of them. The girl, distracted by the others, does not finish the task.
--One boy thinks it is appropriate to call me "sweetheart." When he is told not to do it, he doesn't understand why. "I call everyone sweetheart," he says. That I am a teacher does not distinguish me from anyone else, in his mind. I tell him it is incredibly disrespectful, and that he cannot do it anymore. He doesn't.
--One twelfth grade humanities class will spend the entire quarter on the idea of "race as a social construct." Perhaps the teachers believe the students will be more interested in a topic that affects their "daily lives." Instead, the kids seem bored. The material is too theoretical, there is nothing for them to grab onto.