Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Thanks Hank for giving us the above title. Six portable classrooms were moved this fall. One of them was mine. The logical plan was to move them during the fall break. That was the plan. However, the movers had other plans. They did not start until the last day of the break. Their excuse was they could not find the most prominent 88 acres, with an unusually large series of tan block buildings, setting next to an Interstate exit, holding 2300 students, in the middle of one of the fastest growing cities in the South.

Of course, the move started the day all students returned to the campus. My little band of students were shuffled off to one of the two school cafeterias. The promise of being inconvenienced for only one week rang in my ears for the next two months. It was true that the move only took one week. However, because these twenty-year-old trailers were moved, they had to be brought up to state and local codes. This procedure involved approximately nine different special teams of workers and inspectors. These groups never seemed to be following a single game plan nor could they communicate with each other. So, as the cold of winter swept into the geographical bowl housing our fine government school, we all sat looking out through the glass walls of the cafeteria. Frequently amused by the circus we witnessed, more often we saw no human workers for days. I did notice that many mornings around 6:30 A.M. a county government truck parked beside the relocated trailers. The driver would get out and lean against the side of the rusted, white truck. He sipped his foam cup of coffee until it was gone and then he was gone.

Finally the trailer passed codes and so did my students. We were back inside our little escape pod. Allowing them to escape at times from the reality of a government school. I would like to think that our new location in the courtyard of the Principal's proud football champion school brought new and unexplored behavior problems. However, many of the faces are new, but the problems are the same. Now the problems are surrounded more closely by neighboring trailers. The place has become known in short order as the trailer park. I appointed myself the Acting Mayor/City Manager.

The power may go to my head as I design the sidewalk supervision schedule for the other teachers.

So far the sidewalk continues to be safely attached to the ground.

The Dead Kids Of MySpace

I've been away from this blog for the first semester of this school year. I would like to write that it was for some noble cause. Alas, it wasn't. Our high school population increased by approximately 300 children this year. As the population increased the negative behaviors increased.

As all teachers I work as my struggle with (NPLB) No Paperwork Left Behind increases. We can't leave any child behind without the appropriate paperwork. I've watched the influx of additional Bloods, Cripps, Goths, locally grown gangstas, and imported thugs from outside our borders. They all attempt to stay below the administration radar, sometimes with success. More often they rise to be noticed. At this point most of them pass through my classroom.

With the increase of individuals that stay with me for shorter and shorter periods of time my work load has increased. Additionally, the Atlas Program was dropped into my lap without an invitation. Arranging services for this most transient, (homeless), of students has evolved into a full-time vocation. This group of students come with behaviors that few other students possess.

I've also became aware of several students availing themselves of the "wonderful child friendly environment" known as MySpace. Many of my students, especially the gangtas' and the Goths, have become very involved with this website. It appears that the exchange of cryptic information among fellow group members is the priority. They all seem to be unaware of strangers invading their world; dangerous strangers. When this subject is brought up to any of them the reply is always the same, "No one can get by me."

All of them dismiss the possibility or probability that they can become an addition to THE DEAD KIDS OF MYSPACE. I've forwarded this website to most of the parents of my students and to fellow teacher and administrators. Few have even noticed what I consider as the important message at this website.

There appears to be no neutral ground in the battle to educate. Now the battlefield has no boundaries. We as teachers appear to be always playing catch-up in the attempts to educate with some knowledge beyond standardized tests. The Dead Kids of MySpace are obviously beyond our grasp, but perhaps their sisters, brothers, friends, and peers could be pulled back from the oblivion. We often lose the battles and hope against hope that we win the war.