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White Girls Wear Granny Panties

January 11, 2012
Sunny Dawn Summers Teaching New Orleans

One of my students who loves art (and hates to go home) stayed on a Friday night to decorate my door with a falcon, star and lightening bolt.

Teaching in New Orleans has been a roller coaster. I have terrible days, I have great days, I feel like I’m going to vomit, I eat too much to compensate for the agony, I wait (and wait and wait and wait) for the light to go on. And sometimes it does.

Today was one of those days that magic happened. My first period class killed it. They wrote like the wind, most of them finishing up essays about changing the world, some of them reading and writing about the new curfew laws in New Orleans, thinking critically about how to really make changes in the city (uh, like community centers and youth activities?? ahem!).

During 2nd block my shortest fuse made a bet with me that he could not cuss through the end of the week. Our $20 bet got the point across to the class that there is a time and place for certain language, and cursing is not for the classroom. It also got the class so pumped up with excitement that my principal came in to find out what the ruckus was.

Third block is the tilt-a-whirl of all classes. It’s right after lunch, and they’re the ones I must love the most. Today they were incredible. Class started with a compliment. “Ms. Summers, you got white girl swag. You don’t much match at all, but you still look cute,” comes from my future lawyer and mouthiest overachiever. Then, from the back row, from my sweatiest underachiever: “White girls wear granny panties.”

Near the end of class, after listening to Earth, Wind, and Fire for writing inspiration (they like the jams but don’t know the words), they began a conversation about how their grandmothers make them dance with them to old people music like I play for them.

“My gramma has a buck mouth. She only got one tooth. That’s why I call her Onesie,” comes out of Sweaty’s mouth. He sweats because he runs everywhere and gestures too much.

Fourth block brought a genuine hug from the little girl who has been one of the biggest battles for us. Her mom attacked her in the hall one day at our school. She’s been put out of every class, every day, for months. She screams, sleeps, fights, pouts. Now she’s working, HUGGING!, and asking if she can come by my house this weekend so we can go to the park.

And just like a day at the amusement park, I’m exhausted but thrilled, sick but shiny-eyed, sore with laughter, and hungry for more.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 5:35 pm

    right?! HALO in NOLA!!
    you need to introduce your sweatiest underachiever to some SOLO JONES!
    AMEN for HUGGING!!

  2. Megan permalink
    January 11, 2012 10:58 pm

    you are so great my lady – a great writer and a great educator! I admirer you! MC

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