The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Jan 24 2013

Can’t Get ‘Em All

Day 87: I didn’t actually teach today. We had a half day, and the in-school portion of it was taken up by ANet testing.

Unfortunately, this means all I have to report is some morning meeting disrespect. In honor of Elizabeth Blackwell, who became the first female American doctor today in 1849, I asked students to share a first they would either like to be, or like to see. For example one student said he’d like to be the first Haitian president.

AC passed once. Passed again. When finally pressed, she said, “I’d like to be the first student to leave here to go to a better school.”

I sent her out, and my homeroom partner tried to talk to her about it. She immediately shut down and began crying, saying we mis-interpreted her. Bullshit. This is one of the smartest girls in the grade, and she knows damn well what she’s saying. Mind you, this comes  a day after I asked her, “How was your weekend?” and she replied with, “I asked you not to ask me about my personal life.”

Honestly, I’m not too bothered by this. Going off how much she cried when I had her father in school last week, I’m guessing she has no desire to do that again. As a former teacher at my school once said, you can’t out-rude me. However, I’m still mystified. What makes a middle school girl act 11 going on 16? What makes them too cool for basic respect, or the obvious efforts of someone trying to reach out to be friendly with them?

I do not know the answer to either question. And I think I’ll be better off the soon I try to answer a different questions: How can I ignore this nonsense and just accept that 11-year-old girls will be 11-year-old girls sometimes? How can I best get it through my thick skull that I’m a fool if I keep trying this hard and getting shot down repeatedly? Sometimes, I’m too nice for my own good.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
Middle School

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