I'm home sick today, but I'm still thinking about yesterday. We're at the end of two weeks of testing, running two-a-days lasting over two hours. Many of our students handle these tests with typical annoyance while maintaining their focus and ploughing through. A number of our students are lashing out, especially when, after their tests are over, they have to attend classes. Of course, I have many of the students who are lashing out, unable to control their annoyance and projecting it on to me.
Some of our students, well many depending on your point of view (I think many), simply skip class and wander the halls. At the end of the day, I had my prep period. With nothing to prepare for (I teach a script), I ventured out into the halls to do some finishing work for our upcoming Staff vs. Senior basketball game. Coming across a few students, I helped them move towards their classroom--they complied. Later I ran across another student who I have written up multiple times for disrespect, leaving study hall, and hall wandering. The last time we met in the halls he told me to get of his dick and find something better to do than stop him in the hallway. Not wanting to get into a confrontation, I found a security guard and let him know about the student. But he informed me that he just got out of a full day of trainings and was on his way to lunch.
Ten minutes later while walking back to my class, I saw the student again. This time and administrator walked past the student and his girlfriend (the pair are well known for not being in class) and simply asked them in passing to get to class. Too busy I guess to help empty the halls of hall wanderers.
It made me think back to the beginning of the period when I walked that group of students to their classes, taking the time to show that I cared that they arrived safely. Apparently it doesn't matter if our students walk the halls. Threats are made: Too many students in the halls. We will be doing hall sweeps at the beginning of each period--that happens one day and then we give up. So what does it matter if I give up, if I sit in my room and close the door, turn the music up a little so I can't hear the wandering loud students who pass by my class all day?
I'm not saying any of this is right. I'm not saying that any of this should be acceptable. I'm not saying that urban education cannot improve. But it's draining, exhausting. What can be done when the school's culture is so ingrained with this attitude of que sera sera, whatever will be will be?
I need it to change. I want it to change. I just don't know if it is possible to do so in its current form or with my current position. I'm just a teacher. One person. Are there others who want to change the cutlture of our school, yes. But how? When the district is one of the lowes paid in the state, when staff cuts are digging deep into the young energetic teachers, when the state demands initiative after initiative, how can we change the culture of the school?
I'm starting to think we can't.