Monday, March 3, 2014

Sub Adventures #5: 9th and 10th grade History in the Bronx

Today was . . . interesting.

It started off normally enough. Actually . . .  no it didn't. From the second I set eyes on the building, I thought uh-oh. For one thing, the building was absolutely ginormous. And as is typical of many Bronx public schools, it housed 5-6 other schools. Upon first entering the building, I was subjected to walking through detectors. Then, I had to be hand-wanded for some reason. Next, I had to find the main office of the particular school where I was subbing. To avoid getting lost in the maze-like halls, I went against my natural tendencies and immediately asked for directions.

From there, things were pretty normal for the first 4 periods. I think I was covering for a co-special education teacher, so there wasn't a need for me to lead the class. I was kind of bored since I wasn't doing much. One student even took it upon himself to call me out on it: "I would love your job. Getting paid to do nothing." Brat!

Then during period 5, there was a fire drill. I repeat: A fire drill. At a school with thousands of students. In the freezing cold. It was not fun and it was not effective. I could barely find my way out of the building and I lost my students. #FAIL

Period 6 was lunch. Period 7 was a disaster. The teacher I was covering for doesn't have classes after 5th period, so I was sent to help another sub for 7th period. The students had a project to work on, but needed laptops to do so. Laptops they could not use because there was no official teacher in the room. The students then took that to mean that they could sit there and do nothing.

At that point, neither I or the other sub wanted to confront them. However, the level of blatant disrespect towards adults was appalling. I felt invisible trying to tell them to stop yelling at one another. And the potty mouths on these young people. I thought I had a potty mouth, but I ain't got nothing on these kiddies. Every curse word in the book was said. It didn't end there though: they slapped one another; they yelled at the top of their lungs; they even pulled out condoms that one of the boys had and one girl started puncturing them with a pen. Yeah, that was my reaction as well--utter shock.

What upsets me the most is that I'm discovering that these Bronx schools all have the same disciplinary issues and there seems to be a lack of authority. Students get away with too much. They are roaming the halls, yelling and fighting one another in the halls and no teacher, dean, or administrator ever scolds them for the inappropriate behavior. When, how, and why have adults in school buildings started to avoid confronting children?

On another note, I saw a student from my student teaching experience in a Bronx middle school two years ago. That was pretty cool.

Well that's my adventure for today. Tomorrow, we're still in the Bronx. A few blocks away from today's assignment actually, at a middle school.

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