November 09, 2002
Middle School Humor
Seen on a wall next to a sixth-grade classroom door, a piece of orange paper, 8.5" x 11", with three separate inscriptions:
1. Word-processed in large type, landscape mode:
Ms. [Name Redacted]
You have been chosen
for Staff Member of the Week!
Congratulations on a job well done!
2. Scrawled in the left margin in a large childish hand:
3. Neatly written in a grown-up hand between the printed lines and just to the right of the single word:
Darn right -- try me.
Almost a weblog comment section in miniature.
Posted by Dr. Weevil at November 09, 2002 08:31 PM
Damn. I'd figured 'Hesiod' was at least in the ninth grade by now.
My next question: how long will the administration allow that sign to stay up?
Heh, her response is heartening.
But at the same time I think that kid's comments are really sort of disturbing. Maybe I'm just being unrealistic and old-fashioned, but I'm pretty worreid about what ugly thugs kids are becoming these days.
This may make me sound like a cantankerous geezer longing for the days when girls all wore skirts and boys wore ties to school and listened to Lawrence Welk, but I'm 22, and even I can notice that kids have become significantly more disrepectful and defiant to any kind of authority figure since I was their age. The fact that I'm talkjing about a difference of 10 years or less is what bugs me the most.
Just last night I was talking to a friend who knows someone that recently became a teacher at her old highschool. Not long ago her teacher friend saw a kid walking off campus during the middle of the school day, and he stopped the kid, and told him to show him to produce some kind of pass or authorization or else to come to the principal's office with him.
The kid, like any good little gangster thug, said soemthing to the effect of "What motherfucker, you want some o' this? Come on!"
The teacher had to walk away. There really wasn't anything he could do about it. Physically restraining the kid (or smacking him upside his empty little head) was against the rules.
This wasn't an inner-city school. It was in Westwood, California... one of the wealthiest parts of LA. It's adjacent to Bel Air fer chrissakes.
Anyway, I'm probably making more of this than need be, especially from the Doc's tongue-in-cheek post, but it's just something that's been on my mind recently. I'm just waiting for that moment when the permissiveness pendulum starts swinging the other way and we started seeing corporal punishment again in public schools.
Russell: You're not making more of it than exists. I'm teaching nine-year-olds and I cannot BELIEVE the lack of respect for authority even from them. And my kids aren't bad, just refuse to acknowledge that the teacher is the head of the class, not them.
I can't tell you how many times I have to actually argue with the little buggers about my lesson plan. "Okay, kids, today we're going to do X." "Why can't we do it this way?" "Last year, in Mrs. S's class, we did it this way." "I want to do it this way!"
Gawd. Someone forgot to tell me that classes became a democracy after I left them.
It isn't lousy kids, it's lousy parents. My 4-year old gets a "conduct" grade every day in preschool, and he knows darned well what will happen if he gets into trouble for disrespecting a teacher. I'll be damned if I'll allow my child to behave in an ungentlemanly manner.
A few of his classmates are monsters (all boys; the girls behave). My kid hasn't noticed yet, but Mommy and Daddy have set up a strategy for dealing with school discipline issues. If he fails to obey a teacher or picks on another "good kid", the hammer falls. If he gets marked down for fighting with one of the little monsters, we let it slide.
In fact, we couldn't help feeling a little guilty pleasure when he made the class bully cry after the bully hit a girl.
The disrespect is pervasive. It exists in the inner city schools, the remotely rural schools, and the well-scrubbed suburban schools. I believe that it has become part of our culture. I believe that is a reflection of a society that is increasingly vulgar and rude.
Gangsters are glamourized in the media, that's probably where the kids learn that it's good to disrespect parents & teachers.