Monday, June 05, 2006

In Your Face!

As I've stated before, summer is great because it's Hobo Teacher time. And like most summers I find myself drawn to the bookstore. Those places have certainly changed. At these mega stores, selling book seems to be the last thing done. People are encouraged to lounge/study/visit there for hours in big comfy chairs without buying a thing as the in-store cafe constantly doles out free samples. If they had a wash and fold service, then I would never leave. But that's not why I'm writing.

I'm really writing because I ran into one of my former students in the forementioned cafe. She graduated a year early, so I had her last semester. It was strange to see her. It wasn't because I like to think that I'm only obligated to student exposure 45 minutes at a time, during weekdays, only 9 months of the year, but because she looked so different. She--she--she didn't look like a hoochie anymore.

Like I said, she just graduated a month ago and during that entire time in my class I had to deal with her being out of the school's dress code. She spent so much time in the office that I started sending her work down there--ahead of time.

I don't know why she wasn't in her normal "my pimp needs his money" attire this time. Perhaps her exodus from high school spawned a new maturity that reined in her priorities. Perhaps she is following the "students are cats" theory (cats know to do exactly what you don't want them to do) and has no reason to dress that way anymore. Who knows?

Again that's not really why I'm writing.

I want to talk about what she said to me. After finding out that she started taking classes at the local community college, so that she would have some hours under her belt for the Fall, she told me that I was right. Read that again--I was right! "Right about what?" you ask? Oh, I'm right about tons of stuff, but she was specifically referring to my response to students who expressed that I pushed them too hard by saying, "This isn't college."

I would always tell them that they were right. They were right because college would chew them up and spit them out. That in college you don't get 10 absences for each class, each semester, let alone 21 tardies. You lose points is what you get. You don't get make-up time in college. You get zeros. You don't have me, a teacher that stays hours after school to help you with your work, but a professor with set office hours--and it's not for free tutoring. In college, you write more for one class than you ever have in your entire life to that point.

Really, the last people that need to be reminded that high school is not college are the high school teachers. Am I right people?

After this former pupil confirmed that I was indeed right, she thanked me. She told me that after the first week of summer class, she realized that all that "really hard stuff" that I had them doing in my class was somewhat geared towards the college environment; and that even though it wasn't nearly as tough as the real thing, she is coping much better than the other first year students.

That's when I shouted, "That's right!" and flung my sample cup of piping hot triple mocha swissberry in her face. Then I pushed over a spinning rack of romance novels, grabbed the nearest waitress and kissed like a sailor in Time Square who had learned that the war was over.

Actually that all happened in my imagination. What I really did was thank her for the compliment and asked her if she was going to finish her banana nut muffin.

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