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Deaf Ears, Full Moon, and Smoking Weed with Your Mom

February 6, 2012
full moon new orleans

Taken last summer at high river when I was preparing to be a teacher. I can feel the optimism oozing out.

One of my students politely reminded me, in the middle of one of my preach sessions, that when words are falling on deaf ears, one should politely shut up. Teaching is especially hard when not only do you feel like you aren’t being heard, but you know you aren’t being heard. Today I knew. Today was hard.

There is a full moon tonight. It was hanging hazily over the horizon tonight as I drove home from the school. I’d blame the full moon (like my mom says) for their insanity, if I didn’t have mid-term benchmarks to blame. Who wants to take a test, EVER, when those tests show failure again and again. Some of the students try to lay face down on closed test booklets. Some break pencil lead after pencil lead. Some have emergency diarrhea or choose this opportune time to fight with the front office about bus passes. Anything to not test.

One of my most serious anti-test offenders earned the joy of staying with me after school. He had only earned 13 minutes, but he ended up staying an hour working with me. No wonder he shouts out, makes jokes, talking about how his mom buys his weed because it’s “safe to smoke with her.” The kid can barely read. He comes to school once a week or so, and when questioned today, he tells me “it’s too late this year. Next year. Next year I’ll try.” He’s already 17.

It took us an hour to work through 3 short answer questions. When he was ready to leave, I asked him 2 important questions: “Do you feel good about finishing that test?” (he just gave me a smile) and “Do you still hate me?”  Just an hour before he had shouted obscenities at the test and at me as he stormed out of the room (read: test taking diversion technique numero uno).

His response, with the same proud smile: “No. I take it back.” He walks out again, this time pleased, heading home to sit outside and smoke himself dumb (his words) avoiding the nagging voice of motherly reason telling him to go to school while simultaneously handing him a joint.

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