Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tales of Teaching Pt. 1

"You're getting your Masters in Ghetto Education."

That was my dad, Papa Chele, talking. This was in response to my recollection of the day's happenings at work. For the last seven months, I have been working as a teacher's assistant in an afterschool program in an elementary school in Brooklyn. He, Mama Chele, and all of my friends have heard countless stories of the mayhem found in the school of where I currently work. Located in one of the poorest sections in the City, the "school" is a complete microcosm of the dysfunctional neighborhood it is surrounded by.

"When it gets hot outside, they are gonna go buckwild."

That was a fellow teacher, Ms. Black*, about a month ago. She was foreshadowing the terrible behavior that would soon come. She was right. Discipline was already poorly enforced. Now it is totally nonexistent and the kids have, indeed, gone buckwild.

Today, I broke up two fights involving "students" from my fourth grade class. This is the sixth altercation that occurred with my students in the past four weeks. Today, I was hit in the neck by one of the boys, Damien*, as he tried to swing at the other kid involved. I removed the pencil from Allen*, preventing him from seriously stabbing Damien or me. Two weeks ago one of the students, Kimberly*, was lured into a bathroom and beat up by four male classmates. Minutes later, Kimberly's Mom interrupts "instruction time" and threatens one of the perpetrators, saying "I want to see your face fuckin' busted in."

Nobody has been penalized. No suspensions, no detention, no nothing. The students show up the next day, completely unaffected. One of the fights occurred at dismissal, in front of my supervisor and most of the faculty. Damien left with his cousin, his friend, and his two siblings. But he'll be back on Friday, unchanged.

When does it stop? It won't. It will just be another day with another story to tell.

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