Monday, February 21, 2005

Educating Princess Grace and Other Terrors

I went a couple of rounds with Princess Grace today and I think it set me up to be cranky all day.

She has a tendency to refer to anything that displeases her as either "gay" or "retarded". This runs contrary to the rules of my kingdom as I have dear friends who fall into both categories and I don't feel those terms to be appropriate insults. I share this with my classes and when the Princess continued her unimaginative name calling I chastised her with all the humor I could muster.
"You know, Your Majesty, that would be kind of like me using your name every time I wanted to insult someone."

"Erpmph, Ion't cur." (or roughly translated, "I don't care.")

"So we're working on it, and by we I mean me. Working hard.

Today it persisted as she told a classmate that she was retarded. I shall let the text of my referral speak.

After repeated warnings about the insensitivity of calling people "retarded", Her majesty has continued to do so. When she did so today and I reminded her of my policy, she told me "I ain't talking to you". When I asked her to join me in the hall for a conversation on the topic, she told me at great length how not only was she not speaking to me but that it was "homegirl talk". I asked if I could share my point of view and her response was "You can try but it ain't gone change nuthin".


Referral writing is often catharsis for me. I have suggested that instead of detention, that she spend some time volunteering in our program for the severe/profound handicapped area. Perhaps changing a fifteen year old's diaper might show her the weight of her words.

Cut to the next hour and the scene I have already described. The leg wrestler (who is a special needs student) is reading full voice in my otherwise silent classroom. I wondered aloud if anyone was following along with the LW and a few students admitted they were. LW asks if there is anything wrong with his reading aloud and I tell him there isn't, but that most of the time students take my request to read in classes an assignment to read silently. Now get why I love the LW:

"I like to really read it so I can hear the words. That way, I learn better and I really want to learn about Byzantium."

I can't make this up. I wonder if the Princess had a class with LW, if she might continue to use this label as an insult.

On another heartrending child note, I ended my day at 8pm after my last round of enrollment conferences for my advisory. My last student was a Vietnamese girl who brought her mother along. When I reached out to shake the parent's hand, it was obvious the parent had no English and was only along for the ride. She has no concept of the child's transcript or scores and spends part of the time looking at me blankly and the other half on her cell phone.

Immigrant's daughter has applied for vo-tech and will probably get in except for the fact that her parents will not go with her to the admissions interview. I really want to cry and I'm wondering if the folks at the vo-tech would buy my teeney Vietnamese girl showing up with her tall, blonde, Caucasian fake mom.

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