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Monday, February 13, 2006

And who's this Kelvin guy?

Man, I caught myself in a big uh-oh today. We were having a class discussion on whether Huck Finn is a racist book or not. Side note: that discussion has changed over the years in my class. Who knew that a song with the line, "Now niggas can't make it to ballots to choose leadership," would be just as popular today as it would be 40 years ago?

It brings me back to my point, which is during the conversation I paraphrased a critic commenting on how context plays a large role in language. That's when one of my pupils chimed in with, "I was just going to say that."

Sure you were, Mr. "I call an ellipses, 'dot, dot, dot'". And then, I caught myself. Students can struggle in a subject and still have moments of brilliance. I've been that student.

It was in my chemistry class. I had no idea what was going on in there. For the longest time I couldn't figure out who this Al Kaline person was. Then there was this one time where I had the answer to the teacher's question, but I didn't answer because I was just sure that I was way off. When another student answered and I heard that "Correct, good job," I just died. I knew the answer. When would I ever get a chance to be right in the class again? Trust me, there weren't many more opportunities.

Any student can shine at anytime--even the ones that struggle in my class. I was like them when I was their age and I need to remember that. Heck, at least that kid said something, while I didn't.

So teachers, I leave you with some important words to remind us that the date may change, but the people do not.

Come on Vern, the kids haven't changed, you have!

-Carl, the janitor
The Breakfast Club

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