Monday, July 01, 2002

okay--what you've all been waiting for--Another School Update!
(to the tune of Sam Cooke's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore")

first day of summer school (day 9 camp fellows)--

There are 11 of us at PS makebelieve #, the Bronx, yo. We arrive bright-eyed, doe-eyed, pick any babyfresh-like eyed and that is us. I could go into a tale about Principal E, but you'll be getting plenty along the way, and I'd rather go straight to the goodness.

I was placed with a buddy fellow into a 3rd grade classroom of 5 students. We entered into a serious discussion already in progress where each child was asked and expected to answer why he or she was in summer school this year. Uh. Excuse me, maybe that's personal. Maybe Krystal doesn't feel like sharing this morning. I felt for little Krystal, but the teacher persisted firmly, and then I began to see the logic of her guidance or the guidance of her logic. They were to begin a writing exercise on this very topic. Talking beforehand gets the juices flowing. But that wasn't the whole bag. Teacher was working on instilling some sense of accountability in these little ones--very important, in fact born into the journey they will take for (hopefully) all twelve years of their public school life. Accountability, ever heard of it?

My buddy fellow and I hung back about 3 feet from the five snuggling desks, standing cross-armed. Umm, teaching involves what exactly? But we warmed to the process farily soon thereafter.

I was amazed at how vividly I could see these kids' minds at work--how they piece together their own inner narratives with sounds made into letters, words they've seen other places that might fit, transposin all over the place. Their little heads were going, going too fast to stop and think about how to spell. I'll just write "riajon" (for "reason") and be done with it. Little Krystal is truly fond of the letter "i." She uses it in every instance calling for a vowel. Hmm? And then it suddenly clicked that homework actually is important. You see, when I was a lass, school was school and carrying jeff's sax home was afterschool. We were free to roam the trails, build forts, make homemade horror flicks, play calico vision. No homework, I tell you. But today it's a mission, a new trend. Fine, I just favor play. However, I could see all the tremendous progress in store for Krystal if I could only help her one-on-one for say two hours a day. That's reasonable isn't it. What do you think?

School is great.

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