Monday, October 5, 2009

Post from Bizarro World

The most absurd day. This afternoon the math teacher kicked six seventh graders out of class at the beginning of the period for being disruptive and asked me to take them to my office (which I share with the math/reading specialists and the other special ed teacher). I asked her if she had a hand-out for them to do or anything. "We're doing adding integers," was all she said. O-kay. I copied the Do Now of four problems she'd had on the board, grabbed a math book and took the kids downstairs.

Fortunately, Cori, the math specialist, was in there because it was her prep period, and she immediately put aside her work to co-teach the Troublesome Six with me, which was REALLY nice of her. ("Adding integers? That's all?" she whispered to me at one point. "That's all the teacher told me about," I whispered back.)

That seventh grade class had a double (two periods of math back to back), so toward the end of the period, Cori and I brought them back upstairs for their second math period. As we were watching them walk back into class (some more quietly than others), who should come up to us but the Millionairess! Yes! The woman who founded the school with millions of her (and her late husband's) own dollars!! I'd heard stories about her but never met her in person; I was beginning to wonder if she truly existed. But in fact she does. She had two men with her (handlers??), and she asked us how things were going.

Cori, ever positive, chirped, "Oh, fine. It's just that now that we're in a bigger space than last year, the kids are still adjusting to making good transitions between classes."

"But they've been in school a month," the Millionairess said, peering through the window in the classroom door. I looked, and to my horror realized that two boys were in the back of the room beating each other over the head with their notebooks.

"Oh no," the Millionairess said. Here it comes, I thought. But this is what she said: "That plant in the back looks VERY thirsty."

Cori and I stared at the boys whaling on each other next to the plant, then at each other. Was this woman kidding?

"Oh yes, it needs to be watered," one of them men said after he, too, peered through the window.

"Those are great plants because if you forget to water them for a while, once you do they'll perk back up in 20 minutes," the other guy added.

"But still, it shouldn't get to that point. That plant needs to be watered," the Millionairess frowned.

After Cori and I reassured her we would remind the math teacher to water her plants, they walked away. And not a moment too soon, because it was too hard to keep a straight face anymore. Cori said, "I thought she was going to ream us out over those boys smacking each other around, but --"

"-- all she cared about was the plant!" I said. We could not stop laughing. Was I in some some of alternate universe??

"That epitomized perfectly the problem with this school," Cori said. "Caring more about the aesthetic than what the kids are actually doing!"

And she's right. I almost feel like, if that's our FOUNDER's attitude, what hope do we have!? Good grief!

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