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Hot Fries

February 14, 2012
Chester's Hot Fries

Teaching in New Orleans means baiting kids with Hot Fries, a.k.a. spicy Styrofoam.

All my kids eat Hot Fries. Hot Fries are not actually food, but merely the semblance of food. Especially surprising as a breakfast substitute, Hot Fries appear in my classroom far too often. Upon finishing a biggie sized bag of Hot Fries yesterday, a student got up, walked to the back of my classroom, passed gas, and came back to his front row seat.

“Oh man, I think I got a hunger problem,” he groans as he hold his stomach. This child has constant stomach problems. Surprising, with the diet of Hot Fries.

His neighbor responds back, “You don’t get a check for that.”

“Oh, then nevermind.”

The boys laughed and dapped each other off (fist bump for those of you who don’t work with middle schoolers– a high five, for those of you who saw Elvis perform live).

This might be funny, taken out of context, but each time I talk to the kids about jobs or college or even high school diplomas, the push back is the burning question, “Why?”

Why should someone achieve in education when, if you can identify enough issues, you can get paid? My kids constantly argue that getting their own food stamps is the next step up the chainlink of life, or that you don’t have to pay $800 a month for an apartment. Rent is only $150 as long as you can’t work.

And by can’t, many of them mean don’t, and by don’t, I interpret won’t.

Maybe that makes me judgmental. And wrong. It’s not a rule, of course, but I live and work in it every single day. And I’ve never been one to hold my tongue. Until we change the welfare system, education will lag behind. Until we educate our prisoners, or tie a degree to parole, crime will not decrease. If education is the key to freedom, shouldn’t our nation, our land of freedom, demand it?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 14, 2012 10:19 pm

    amen sister. and seriously i mean that.
    this is very profound: And by can’t, many of them mean don’t, and by don’t, I interpret won’t.
    i know i’ve said that of your writing before.
    it is tireless working in a system that seems so low you’ll never get a grasp. it’s devastating.
    p.s it was my third graders that turned me on to hot fries. i love/hate them 🙂

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