Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery






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Thursday, September 28, 2006


Art Imitates Life, Which Pisses Life off to No End

I finally got around to watching this week's episode of The Wire today. It's really sad how things have piled up in my DVR. I'm taping too much shit. Do I really need to record Murder She Wrote reruns on the Hallmark Channel? (Well, yeah, actually. I do. I'm just that big an Angela Lansbury fan.)

Anyway, if you've missed the first three episodes of the new Wire season, you should know that Pres, a guy who was a bit of a fuck-up as a cop, has become a teacher in a Baltimore middle school. And, of course, he's teaching a bunch of students who aren't really interested in learning and don't feel the need to give him any respect or even allow him to teach a lesson.

Now, don't get me wrong here: my school isn't anything like the school on The Wire. For instance, nobody's ever been knifed in my class. But I do have a whole bunch of seventh-graders who absolutely could not care less about learning how to write a play. And a number of them felt the need to remind me of that today, in an attempt either to score Cool Points with their classmates or to make me wish just a little bit more that I was independently wealthy and didn't have to work there.

I had three seventh grade classes today and I'll be damned if they didn't all choose today to shove disrespect up my ass. And I didn't handle it well. I didn't explode or anything. I didn't freak out or walk out of the room or anything along those lines. But I did let their comments get me angry, which I should not do. Because it just makes things worse.

It just seemed today like even the good kids, the ones who've shown a real interest in theater in the past, now figure that I'm the teacher they can feel free to piss all over. And I didn't have an effective way to stop that today. So, when I watched The Wire and saw poor Pres get entirely overwhelmed by students who just don't give a shit; when he had to stand by while another teacher got control of the situation, it made me feel really bad. For him and for myself.

Again, my situation is nowhere near as bad. And every day is not like today. In fact, my worst class was actually pretty damn good yesterday. (Never mind that they behaved like the later chapters in Lord of the Flies today.) I shouldn't bitch. It's not as bad as all that. But when I'm already inclined to be in a bad mood, the shit just drags me down.

I've been watching The Wire, and imagining Prez was you (except the gum-chiseling—I could not suspend my disbelief enough to imagine you doing that), and that that was how your classes are, and admiring the hell out of you for doing what you do.

Even if no one has gotten their face slashed in one of your classes, I still know it takes more than I can possibly imagine to face down a room of seventh-graders for even one hour, much less to keep them engaged or, heaven help you, teach the little f***ers anything.

Kudos to you, Mr. Wack. Seriously. I thought your job here in Seattle dealing with the elderly was challenging. Teaching middle school defies description of courage and fortitude. Talk about a tough crowd...
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