Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh, that isn't normal, is it?

I think I may experience some culture shock as I relocate to what pretty much amounts to suburbia.  I have mixed feelings about it, although I am so very happy to be heading back to Virginia.  Although I sort of knew this already, it became more apparent during our honeymoon.

So, I didn't know this, but apparently Sandals and Beaches are owned by the same company and there are distinctions between who they're marketed toward and even who can go there.  Beaches is more family-friendly and also, I think, semi-singles friendly.  Sandals is designed for couples.  This is not a place to go if you are not absolutely secure in being single.  Everybody there was either on their honeymoon or celebrating an anniversary.  While it was really fun, it was kind of weird at times. 

Anyway, we met a lot of really nice couples.  And every other person we met was a teacher!  So, of course, when you meet other teachers, you sort of share about how crazy the profession is- the kids, the parents, the administration, the legal elements (many of which are completely nonsensical, but that's neither here nor there), plus you also talk about the good parts.  Even I (and I am leaving the field running!) have good stories to share.  We met several people who teach in schools similar to mine, plus some who are in the heart of suburbia. 

Both types of schools have their quirks.  I had a kid in my class this year whose older brother had just joined a gang and got his little brother heavily involved in gang activity (yes, I taught third grade this year).  I could probably devote an entire blog to that one child.  I referred to him as the Prince of Darkness (he told me he was the devil once).  I had several CPS kids.  I had one who had been abandoned.  The list goes on. 

On the other hand, you have CrAzY parents in suburban schools.  I mean I had crazy parents, too, but this is a different kind of crazy.  I love parents who want to volunteer and be involved.  I had some awesome parents this year.  You get those in all kinds of schools.  Suburban schools tend to have greater numbers, however, of parents who don't really want to be involved in a volunteering or productive capacity, but would rather just go and cause trouble.  Their children do no wrong.  The teachers are all out to get their kids.  They just like to yell and scream and create tension for everyone involved.  (I grant that there are situations where parents are entitled to be upset, but I'm not addressing those.  I'm talking about the parents who create trouble where there isn't any.)

So, here I am discussing the differences between suburban and inner-city schools with a fifth grade teacher.  Let's preface this with I would never teach fifth grade.  That is the year when they became evil.  Even the nicest kids turn into monsters in the fifth grade.  So, this private school teacher and I are talking about ideal grades to teach.  She finds out I teach third grade and she is just gushing about what a great age it is and how wonderful second and third graders are.  Compared to fifth graders, absolutely true.  However, given her reaction to my next comment, I'm not sure that she could have handled my bunch.  (My proudest moment this year?  When another teacher, who can turn on the genuine ghetto fabulousness in a heartbeat, comes out of her room while I am chewing out a kid in the hall and says, "Oh, it's you.  I thought that was someone's black ghetto mama out here."  No joke.  Completely word for word.  I have arrived!) 

This woman is going on and on about how third graders want to please you and will generally work for you, etc.  Often true.  So, without thinking anything of it, I comment, "You're so right.  I love it when they get so angry and are just yelling, 'I hope you die!,' and then 15 minutes later, they're telling me how much they love me."

Awkward pause.

"Wait, your kids say that they hope you die?"

"I mean, yeah, sometimes.  My favorite this year was when this kid, Myresha, told me that she was going to tell her mama to beat me up.  And I told her that we could call her mama right then.  And I bet that if she came up to the school I wouldn't be the one getting beat.  That kid backed down right away, 'I am so sorry, ma'am, I will never say that again, ma'am.'"

Astonished staring.  Here's where I clue in.

"Oh.  Your kids don't do that, do they?"

I completely forgot that wasn't normal.  Oops.

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