Saturday, April 30, 2011


As my dear readers know, I teach mostly high school but in a wide variety of schools, from alternative high schools for inner city near-drop-outs, to a high school in a district populated mostly by rednecks, to a high school in "the hills" of suburbia with the kids of lawyers and professors who are just one step down from sending their kids to private school.

Anyways, I was at this rather well-off school this week and had the math class FROM HELL. I think the most infuriating thing about it is that these kids are supposed to know better. Demographically, they have been raised in 2-parent homes, gone to nice schools with high standards since Kindergarten, are likely to go on to college, and have been exposed to the value of an education (family, friends, and neighbors who are doing well thanks to their degrees.) Even if they don't match these demographics, they are going to a school where these attitudes are the norms and the predominant culture. So it makes me angry when they are rude, off-task, loud, and openly hostile to learning because they are squandering the opportunities that my other students don't have.

Since one of the purposes of this blog is to vent, and because I can't say it to their faces, I will say it now: YOU ARE AN IDIOT.

Yes, you, white male Soph-o-moron. You are ruder than the middle schoolers in the special education class for kids with behavioral disorders at AK-8.

Yes, you sassy girl. You think you are soooo street when you listen to your headphones during class and bop along to the words instead of listening to my explanation in math, but a know a few single moms on the north side that can kick your butt in work ethic. And they will, and I will laugh.

Yes, you, Junior in Algebra 1. You think you are delightfully, counter-culturally average. In a school with over achievers, you revel in not achieving. You wear your C's with pride. Let me tell you, there is a world beyond this high school. A world where lots of Juniors are in Algebra 1 because they have been hampered with sub-par schools their whole life, because they don't have parental support after school, because they don't believe college can be a reality for them. Stop wasting your time on sitting around, your parents' money on weed. Or don't. I really don't care, because tomorrow I'm going to go to a different school and expend my energy on kids who need it. Right now, as you graffiti the table and tear your worksheet up into little pieces, I'm imagining you pumping gas for all the students who clawed their way out of poverty by using all the opportunities provided to them at school and beyond.

OK, that feels better.


  1. It's so infuriating to see people waste opportunities! Especially when you know there are others who would do ANYTHING to have even half of what the wasters have access to. :(

  2. I think that the phrase you are looking for is "You are a god damn idiot," although I know these kids have never heard of red vs. blue (even if they love Halo part whatever they are on). I feel like there's this strange since of entitlement that some teens have, and I can't figure out where it came from. I mean, I know we were snotty little brats in school too, but I understood the importance of the education I was getting.

    Although - "Stop wasting your time on sitting around, your parents' money on weed." I'm pretty sure we went to college with some of those kids.