I Feel So Cheap and Dirty, Part I
Three days after I published the last video, the sadly prophetic one about teachers being coerced into giving students grades they don’t deserve, here’s what happened to me:
I had entered senior grades on Sunday night. When I checked my email in the morning I found a few papers that had been turned in overnight. I graded them. I entered new grades. No big deal. That was Monday. The seniors were officially done with classes.
On Tuesday they all started coming around to get things signed off for graduation. I have to “verify” that they have read a certain number of books in my class, that they turned in the text-book, and what grade they earned in the class just now ending. In order to graduate, you have to pass my class.
So little Timmy comes up to get his stuff signed. (Side note: I feel compelled to call him Timmy or Johnny so that no one will say Why did you call him Shae’Quan’trello? Why did you call him Jesus? Because black and Hispanic kids are dumb? No. I’ve been teaching for six years and I’ve never even seen a white kid. ALL of the brilliant, stupid, lazy and industrious students I have ever had have been non-white, none named Timmy. But I’ll stick to that in the spirit of avoiding controversy….(By the way, why don’t white people name their kids Jesus? And why are Muslim kids named Mohammed, but you get killed if you draw a picture of him with a ribbon in his hair riding a pony? Or, what if I had a student named Mohammed; I drew a picture of him and wrote “Mohammed” on the bottom and somebody found it? That would be just a terrible misunderstanding.))
So anyway, Timmy gets his stuff signed. Timmy failed my class. And, as I’ve said before, you have to be really committed to the idea of doing absofuckinglutely NOTHING in order to fail at this school. (And, mind you, this is one of the very best schools in the district.) Timmy showed a great deal of stamina and heart in this pursuit, and he failed. He scored 42 out of 90 on the final exam and a VERY generous 51% overall for the course. After all of the curving, hedging, denominator-adjusting tricks in my bag had been used and creatively reapplied, I still had that hard-core of individuals who resisted my every attempt to pass them. Timmy was one such case.
Later that day I had to go pee. When I finished, I walked out of the bathroom, as I always do, heading east. Coming straight toward me, maybe 20 yards away and in a crowd of students, were four people. I didn’t like the looks of it. Not one bit. One was some kind of social worker/counselor from the school. She was in front. I know her. Behind her were two adults I did not know, wearing bright yellow “visitor badge” badges. Behind them was the pudgy, apathetic figure of Timmy.
My pace quickened. I was headed right toward them. But suddenly I took a sharp right turn down the hall. I was out of sight. Ha-ha! I broke into a jog down the hall, unlocked my door and slipped inside; out of breath. I sat down. Seconds later my door opened. It was them.
You fucking idiot! You decided to hide in the place where they were most expecting to find you and certainly would have looked first before looking anywhere else? Your classroom? Shit. You’re as stupid as cardboard. I’m embarrassed I even know you.
My inner monologue can be pretty harsh. But he’s honest. And he calls it like he sees it. You have to respect that.
Can you guess what happened next…? Stay tuned. Part II.