Students will be able to…finally, it’s Friday. This has been the longest week ever. I don’t even care what they learn today. Am I a bad teacher?
Several of my boys came in today with the most disgusting excuse for mullets, claiming it was for “Mullet March” to “promote breast cancer.” Poor guys – this has been a really long week for me, and I tore into them pretty harshly.
First, semantics – “You’re PROMOTING breast cancer? As in, encouraging it, making it more important?” Second, effect – “Does breast cancer research receive any money for your haircut? Does your haircut help find a cure?” Third, dissemination – “Who knows about this? Where does this idea come from?” A quick Google search revealed a Facebook page for “Mullet March for Mental Health” with 93 likes and next to no other real internet presence. It wasn’t even for the same disease they claimed to be fighting. They seemed to have made this idea up as a reason for a bad haircut.
They tried to argue that they wanted to promote awareness; I asked if there was anyone in the room who didn’t know that a) breast cancer existed and b) there was a need for research to fight the disease. Obviously no one raised their hands. Poor guys ended up with bad haircuts and nothing to show for them. It’s the same thing as wearing pink to fight breast cancer, red to fight AIDS, etc. If no money goes directly to the research, our “good intentions” are nothing but that. I felt a little bad for bursting their bubble, but I think it’s important for my students to recognize what jumping on the bandwagon means.
Also, mullets need to go away. Forever. I only hope they didn’t pay someone for their haircuts.
Otherwise, today was a catch-up/reading day for students who were absent to read the stories in the textbook. Everyone else could read a book of their choice. I’m finishing up The Jefferson Allegiance (Presidential Series) (Volume 1) by Bob Mayer. It was reviewed in the Wall Street Journal several months ago and available for free Amazon Prime check-out. It’s like a slightly more grown-up combination of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and National Treasure. The American Philosophers’ Society, founded by Thomas Jefferson, has for centuries pitted itself against the Society of the Cincinnati, beloved of Alexander Hamilton.
Like National Treasure, they seek historical artifacts in historical places in the Eastern Corridor. Like Harry Potter, they have a ton of things they need to find and the list keeps getting longer. The novel skips back and forth between presidents of history and modern day Colonel Ducharme (conveniently Special Forces), Sgt Maj Kincannon (conveniently has friends who are helicopter pilots who can save the day), and Evie Tolliver (simultaneously curator of Monticello/Jefferson scholar and ex-CIA, equally convenient) fighting with modern day FBI/Cincinatti-ites wanting to get the wooden disks that lead to the Jefferson cipher that tell them where to find the Jefferson Allegiance which will save America As We Know It. If only it were that easy.
I have a few students I could see being interested in this novel, but their history is so iffy they might take it as fact. They can be gullible like that. One poor kid showed me an email he received yesterday, excited that, “a lady from Malaysia wanted to send him money!” She even included a picture with the email, which convinced him she was legimitate:”See Miss? She’s sick. She says she’ll die soon. Why’d she choose me?”
Finally, I am forever shocked at how stupid students think their teachers are. For example, earlier this week one of my female students signed out to go to the bathroom while we were in the middle of a class discussion (a big no-no) and was found five minutes later kissing her boyfriend in the cafeteria. She actually told the teacher who caught her that she was “just going to the bathroom.” Upon return and subsequent embarrassment, she was told that there was in fact a bathroom right down the hall from her second-floor English class…and none in the first-floor cafeteria. She didn’t even have the decency to look ashamed of herself.
Today was supposed to be a reading day, and I have about half a dozen students who I’ve watched stare at their book for six weeks now, not turning any pages and not making any progress. They have their phones tucked in their books, and I just continue to passively dock their daily grades. One kid told me, “I’m on page 17!” He checked out that book the first week in January.
Finally, I had two boys who asked to go the library and check out books. They were gone nearly half an hour; kids who had left after them returned and told me they didn’t see my boys in the library. The librarian signed their passes at 10:18; they returned to my class at 10:38. Amazing that it takes two boys twenty minutes to “go to the bathroom.”