Wow, two in one day! (see you in six months).
I'm posting here because there are two weeks left in the semester and it makes far more sense to be here procrastinating than it does to sit down and write all those papers.
It does. Trust me.
Writing here helps to...uh...warm up my writing muscles before diving into that paper all about the hell that was observing a 5th grade class for two days. And it allows me to vent all the things that I can't actually say in my education paper. For example, WHAT the heck happened to 5th graders?
I mean, we were no angels. But I recall long periods of sitting in a quiet classroom. I recall getting in trouble for calling my teacher by her first name, but never for acting like an orangutan in class. No one in my class would have DARED get up and wander about the room like these children do. No one in my class would have DREAMED of wandering over to another student's desk and chatting while the teacher attempted to give a lesson.
And it completely goes without saying that there would have been no rolling on the floor, crawling under desks, or ululating.
No, I am not kidding. Ululating. Or sometimes just making noises with their lips and tongues. Or if they're actually silent, it might be because they are playing with finger skateboards. And we shall not even speak of the covert in-class texting.
According to the monumentally patient teacher I observed, this particular class of 10-11 year olds has retired no less than three teachers as they terrorized their way through the grades. There are three grades remaining in that school - I wonder how many of the 6th grade teachers have recently started taking anxiety medication.
But then in the midst of all that chaos are these quiet, well-behaved, intelligent children who pay attention and seem impervious to all this. They are not unpopular for it, nor are they even particularly scorned, though perhaps they might be if any of the little narcissists took any notice of anything beyond their own noses.
And this is what was dancing through my mind as I was talking to my Russian coworker today about why it is that we have children so late in this country (to wait until 30 is evidently eyebrow-raising in Russia). We raise our children to be this self-absorbed. We think it is a right of childhood. And we indulge them in unlimited video games and television and texting, rendering them practically incapable of having a conversation, much less participating in a community.
And then one day high school is over and off they go, completely unprepared to cope in a world that does not do what they will it to do. The lucky ones will be allowed fall on their faces and begin to discover humility as they understand that reality is not so completely at their command, nor should it be. And right around then, they'll have a chance at being decent parents.
But then I wonder, how did we get this way in the first place? How did kids go from kind of obnoxious to unholy terror? When did respect go completely out the window?
And more importantly, when the hell did I start sounding like one of those old people who complains about kids today?
That said, for some screwed up reason I can't wait until my next classroom experience. I wonder what high school will be like, since that's what I plan to teach.