A Hundred or So Ways to Get an Ulcer...Year Two
Monday, December 15, 2003
  Many of you may have noticed that I placed the term "honors" firmly between a set of completely deliberate quotation marks. These marks may seem completely arbritrary, but much to my chagrin, "honors" is really a laughable term for this set of kids. , my

Early in the semester, my "honors" American Literature course was getting out of hand. I was attempting to teach a short story by the American bard, Mark Twain. My class decided that they would be better off having their own high-decibel conversations about: dealing drugs, who likes whom, and getting their hairs did. I reminded them quite loudly that they were an honors course and therefore, they are held to a higher standard. They were expected to act honorably, as stated in their moniker.

This made them livid.

One girl in particular informed me that they were just like any other students in the school. "Honors" merely meant that theu have "higher mental capacities". They "have the ability to learn more, faster (at least I hope that she implied a comma between more and faster, which is not really indicative in her writing).

I informed them that the term "honors" goes across-the-board. They are meant to set an example in both academics and behavior. They disagreed.

As much as I may have argued with my teachers during my high school career, I never once disputed school policy. I may have argued the fairness of set policy, but I never once claimed that I knew the schools rules better than any teacher. Had I done this, and the teacher relayed my defiance with my parents, I would definitely have got my ass beat.

I am not saying that all of my honors kids are deadbeats. Out of the eighteen kids in my class, I have a good three or four really honorable, bright kids. I have an assumption of how the other kids got there.

Remember when you were in the second grade and students are broken into reading groups? Different publishers categorized their books differently. Some went by color, some went by adjectives, others by animal name. Let's say that the "Frogs" was the group of kids who read the best. They spoke loudly and clearly and showed a great interest in reading. These students are tracked into higher-level classes throughout elementary school. These parents are informed in eighth grade that their children may qualify for honors classes in high school. The parents become elated at the idea that their child may be up for more scholarships being in the honors program.

Meanwhile during the summer before eighth grade many of these children begin smoking pot, becoming sexually active, join gangs. Many of them just succumb to the defiant adolescent attidude that is somewhat manageable in a stable household. Unfortunately, in an unstable household, teen rebellion become teen delinquincy before you can say "help me Dr. Phil". This becomes duly volitale when children begin hanging out with "cool kids", many of whom do not even have parents.

Now you have a group of delinquents who feel that they have "higher mental capacities" This is when young punks become young pukes. These kids are even more dangerous on the streets because they feel that not only do they have the balls to commit crime, they are intrinsicly smart enough to never get caught.

Only Special Ed and Regular Ed kids catch cases.

When I got my assignment for the year last summer, I was psyched to find that I was teaching an honors course. Little did I know that my honors course would be just another classroom of kids where I would be teaching 3 or four kids, as other kids ignore me to my face as I dare to prepare them for fhe rest of their lives.

A glimpse into the mind of a Chicago inner-city high school teacher. Email: ChicagoTeacher@hotmail.com

11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 /

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