This week we are trying something new in the middle school: midterm exams. Each teacher of the four major subject areas (math, language arts, social studies and science) made up a cumulative midterm, and we are administering them one a day this week under state testing conditions – meaning the kids are locked down in their homerooms for testing the first half of the day. This is extremely awesome for me, because I don’t have a homeroom and got to spend the entire morning getting work done instead of wrangling children!
I did have to do the usual child wrangling after lunch, however, and since the science midterm is tomorrow I spent the time reviewing. The kids got surprisingly into it, at one point two girls got into a heated debate about one of the review questions that culminated in one of them jumping up and screaming “IT’S PLATE TECTONICS, NIGGER!!!” Totally not appropriate, but also totally not what I would have ever expected to hear two kids arguing about.
Anyways, I stopped at the Rite Aid near school on the way home, and was suddenly reminded of the first time I ever went to my school’s neighborhood. I had arrived too early for my interview with the Principal, and decided to kill some time wandering around the Rite Aid. It was hot and I was standing in line to buy a soda, and the guy in front of me was waiting to buy a window AC unit. As I have since learned, the checkout people at that Rite Aid are notoriously slow, and it was taking a really long time for the line to move. The guy in front of me was becoming more and more agitated, until he finally picked up the AC and ran out the door with it! The checkout clerk watched him do it, halfheartedly called out “stop” after him, and then just went back to leisurely scanning items. So that was my introduction to the Bronx – watching some dude steal an air conditioner. I’m not sure what made me think of that today, but I thought I would share it to give people an idea of the kind of stuff my students are growing up around.