The Crux

Can I rebuild you
A seventeen year old
From the ground up?
Can I reconfigure your
Attitudes, habits and values?
And teach you to read
In 4000 minutes?
Can I splash a fresh coat of paint over
Seventeen years of
Emotional neglect and slack parenting
Stewed in a vat of deep fried
Intellectual mass suicide?
This is my mission
(Spoken only quietly)
I prayed that I could
But I can’t do that
Not any more than I can read to you
When you were a baby

(Crux: 1. the decisive point at issue; 2. a difficult matter; a puzzle.: Oxford English Dictionary).

Mr. Teachbad

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8 Responses to The Crux

  1. Rachel Baxter says:

    Thanks for this. I had a rotten Monday in one class today – chalk it up to no home training. I tell myself, “don’t take it personally, don’t take it personally, don’t take it…”

  2. Teacher2 says:

    Good one. Thanks for sharing. Not my fault some of the little ones are INSANE!!!

  3. Erin says:

    The government seems to think so.

  4. TLC says:

    Absolutely beautiful…. now, if the rest of society could just see that, we’d all be better off. But they are blind and refuse to, for blame is never placed where it should be. So, so very sad. :(

  5. Ms. Teacher X says:

    I was told yesterday that I shouldn’t be teaching Romeo and Juliet. It was too hard for them. (I’m using parallel text….yeah…Shakespeare is just a LITTLE archaic.) Was also told to teach as if it was a “white” school. (Most of the kids are “black.”) Um, so…when I try to keep things challenging for my kids (mostly “black”) because they are smart and deserve to be challenged…I’m told to dumb it down. But I’m reminded that the scores are low because I’m not teaching as if I’m at a “white” school. Yes, the admin told us to teach as if we work at a “white” school. As if all “white” schools are comprised by polo-playing, cake-eating, Harvard-attending kids. And all black kids are from “Good Times.”
    Wow. I’m also teaching the word “generalization” to my students. Perhaps I should teach this to my administrators. (One black, one white, both confused.) Mr. Teachbad, I’m glad you’ve given me a forum to share. My friends think I make this shit up. It’s ALL REAL.
    Good afternoon, colleagues.

  6. Ms. Teacher X says:

    by the way, I like the poem. it sums it all up nicely.

  7. Two Cents says:

    My principal actually directed me (as well as my fellow Honors teachers) to make Honors class less challenging. His reasoning is that some students feel stressed and they experience tension and discomfort. Some actually leave Honors because it isn’t easy enough, which has to stop because they might actually develop a level of self-esteem that reflects reality. My principal calls it “making it more accessible;” I call it “dumbing it down” (He says tomato; I say bullshit). This year I have dumbed it down as far as I know how to and I routinely give warm and fuzzy comments about things not being their (students) faults. The result so far has been lower grades and less proficiency, but an inappropriately high level of self confidence–so the plan is working perfectly. By the way, Ms Teacher X, as offensive as I find your administration, many of my students are white, so even Harvard will suffer in the long run. Can’t wait until I teach Romeo and Juliet next semester. What the hell are we doing right? The poem, by the way, is spot on. I wept and hugged my bear a little tighter.

  8. aschoolwherechildrenshouldbeneitherseennorhears says:

    Here’s the thing for people like you (I assume from this post) and me: we want our input to match student output to some degree. I have never done anything with so much effort, thought, precision, and hardwork and yielded such little result. And I’m not content with that — I crave more from and for my students. More discipline. Better habits. More perseverance. More diligence. To truly find it rewarding enough to stay in this profession, I think I have to be satisfied with little, barely visible, teeny-tiny glimmer of hope. And I’m not. Thanks for the venue to vent.

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