DIXIE DELIRIUM: Ramblings On The Fine Art And Act Of Teaching
Extra Credit Reading: I Was A Wide-Eyed Substitute Teacher, Too, Before All This Got Started
A DIXIE DIARY: The Spring Semester Of My Rookie Year
Is Teaching Fun?
Old Burrell Almost Killed Me In High School Lit Class. Now I'm What You Call His Colleague
Classroom Confidential: Bodily Funktions
Teachers Have To Write Essays, Too. Here's 932 Southern-Fried & True Words Of My Own
Essay A Go-Go: What's Up With Them Adults?
Rebel Yell: Give Todd A Holler

August 19

The schoolteacher winced, but almost at once he was smiling again.

—The Violent Bear It Away, by Flannery O’Connor


Dear Dixie,

Seek knowledge!  Quiz day!  Seek shelter!

The first thing Benny does when he walks into class is head right toward my three new globes I got at the highway 9 Target on clearance.  They’re the size of softballs and they really look pretty cool and I guess if I was Benny I’d be doing the same thing.  So Benny is really looking at the globe he grabbed and then he asks, Can I keep it?

I said what do you mean keep it.

Take it home and keep it.  It’s mine.

Forever?  Like I’m giving it to you?

Yes.  I can have it at home.

I bought three globes … and having two of them would not be the end of the world, but I like my things, too.  His request seemed childlike and real impulsive and I have to say it really caught me off guard.  I said no.  I sort of felt bad about it.  No one would have to know, but I felt bad about it.

Benny asked if he could play with it during class.

I said okay.  Play with it during class.

He played with it during class and was really admiring it. 

Not for educational use it says on the globe.  I respectfully call B.S. on that.  Everything and every moment in life is for educational use.

Here’s the way the fire drill went in 1st period today … be ready … the alarm makes you want to claw your eyeballs out … reading to them out of my beloved textbook on page 5 … be ready … halfway between the two poles of the Earth lies another imaginary line which divides RAAAA!  RAAAA!  RAAAA!  RAAAA! 

Anyway, so we did the drill.

When we came back I asked the class in which direction the Earth turns and Homer yells … To the side!

Like I said, quiz day. 

Some of them have admitted they didn’t study for it.  One or two try to debate me that I had told them every day we’ve met since last Wednesday that we’re having a quiz today.  They admit that they knew it was written up on the assignment board in the back of the room but I sure never said anything about it.  The way the room sounds while they’re taking is quiz is like sitting there listening to a car engine cool off and tick. 

I’m always amused when a student asks me while they take a quiz if spelling counts.  Of course, that’s the reason many of them are here.  They have dyslexia.  I say it counts … sure … spelling always counts in school and in life, but here’s how we handle it on quiz day.  The student comes to me and if they think they know the answer … if they can pronounce the word, in other words … then they whisper it to me.  Most of the time the answer’s correct.

Quiz day wasn’t a slaughter.  I was surprised with the results and I’m proud of them.  Thank God everybody had something to write with and I didn’t have to tell them I got overruled by Lurlene. 

Hoover came in right before his mom picked him up and said he had been haunted to know how he did on the quiz. 

Haunted?  I said that was a strong word, haunted. 

Well, that describes exactly what he’d been feeling, he said. 

I asked him how he thought he did.

Pretty good.

I had the quizzes graded as I believe in same day service.  I grabbed the stack off the shelf by my desk and found his.  I said you made an 89.


Good job, I said.  I’m impressed and proud of you.  He heard me and I knew he knew I meant it.  By God I hope so.  I like Hoover.  He's trying.  Every moment I have Hoover in class I’ll take good care of him.  You cannot give up on these kids, no matter how tough it gets, and it will get very tough—I already know it—and you will question why you do this for a living.  I already know that, too. 

But I will give them everything I have.  Except one of my new cool globes from Target.



Next Entry ... August 20: The Eagle Fries On Friday