Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ms. Educat Removes Something From Her Craw (As We Say In Oklahoma)

I am advisor to a group of Seniors this year. I've had most of them for four years and it's been quite a journey to watch them figure out High School and (to the extent that they have)life. This year has been a victory lap for us. Yeah, we're scrambling to do college and finanical aid applications, but the hard work is done. Most of these kids are headed to schools that are right for them. The rest have job or military plans and I bug the other two every week, encouraging them to get a future.

This week, a speaker came to talk with them about the ASVAB. The speaker is not much older than them and seemed smart and articulate. I welcomed him happily to our meeting, knowing he'd enjoy his time with a great group of kids. After our greeting, Terrell (oopsies! Did I just use his real name?? Read on and discover it's the least I can do...) begins his speech.

"Raise your hand if you're going to college,"

It's a slow day for attendance, and of the ten kids in the room, seven raise their hands.

"Of those of you raising your hands, 2/3 of you will not finish your first year"

I bite my lip, watching for the kids' reactions, and allow Terrell to continue his talk.

Later in his talk, a goregeous blonde who just dumped a crappy boyfriend and decided to begin college next year rather than putting it off to get married, shared that she'd made a
93 the first time she took the test.

"The guy who gave me the test called me Blondie and acted surprised that I'd done so well."

The plainclothed recruiter replied (without a hint of irony),

"Wow. We usually don't see scores like that in Oklahoma."

Excuse me, Internets, I need to speak to someone.

Terrell, baby, you are on Ms Educat's nerve. I'm going to speak just to you for a moment, if I may.

If I pretend your statistics are true, you are still the crappiest motivational speaker in the land to look into the faces of kids on the verge of their futures and tell them such a thing. Furthermore, even if your statistics are true, these kids aren't a part of the statistic. Count 'em up, Terrell, of the ten kids you spoke with, half are in the top quarter of their class. It's not like the kid who only plays street ball going to the NBA, this is the dream my kids have prepared for.

But can we examine your statistic, Terrell? Pretty please? Where'd you get it? Because even if that was true five years ago, our State tuition assistance program promises to narrow that number. Check the link for New Funding News, Terrell. Several schools are footing the bill for books and fees to bolster the State tuition. More kids than ever have their college covered, Terrell.

And now, Terrell, I know you dih-dunt talk to my little Blonde girl that way. Do you think you can charm anyone into taking the ASVAB by insinuating that my room full of Okies are unintelligent by virtue of their geography? I do hope you'll spot the kids from my advisory as they take the ASVAB, Terrell. I suggested they show up for testing in Billy Bob teeth. Don't think I am joking, either, you've thrown down the gauntlet and I'm not above picking it up.

Before I let you go, Terrell, go and check out Ms Cornelius' thoughts on Military Recruiters in our High Schools. It's quite intelligent, and she's an Okie.

The good news is my kids heard all these thoughts after you left the room. After I finished, those Seniors looked at me wide eyed. One girl spoke up.

"Dang, Ms. Educat, you really do believe in us"

I do. If I didn't, I'd need to go job hunting. You have the future ahead of you and you can have the dream for which you have prepared. I hope those kids never forget that.


Barbie said...

Awww I hope my kids teachers are as wonderful as you:-) I also do NOT know where he got those statistics because one of the reasons I moved to Oklahoma was for the school system!

HappyChyck said...

Right on! You tell them!

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

Okay, now, I am just a-sizzlin' like an egg on I-40 in July near Elk City. Or, as someone for New York would say, "Who IZ dis guuuuuuuy?" (I'm multilingual, you know.)


IMC Guy said...

As a teacher in an elementary school, we don't get a chance to witness the kind of work you're doing. Helping kids to make choices about the rest of their lives is pretty special.

The Queen said...

You go, Girl.

fillyjonk said...

Oh, for...

*I* live in Oklahoma. I've seen some of the kids that come to college from OK high schools. It's pretty much like ANYWHERE in the nation - some really good, a lot fairly average, a few who REALLY need to get their acts together.

I used to teach in Illinois and I will say the main difference I notice between the (mostly) Chicago-burbs kids I taught and the Oklahoma kids is that the Oklahoma kids are a lot more polite to their poor old professors. want me to come and speak motivationally? I'd happily do it for 3/4 of whatever he got paid. And I probably do a better job than the guy you referred to. (I'd lean heavily on the old "Your future is largely what you make of it...if you want to work hard, you can go really far!" mantra)