Mississippi Teacher Corps

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Science Quiz Bowl: the anti-drug?

During parent-teacher conference day on Friday, we had a fair amount of down time, so in addition to grading science fair projects (speaking of which, I HATE the science fair and the crazy things it makes people do... more on this later), jammin' to my stereo, and tidying my room, I spent a lot of time chatting with the teacher across the hall from me. He's in his early 30's, from the Delta, and black, meaning that the students relate to him in a way that they don't relate to me ("that crazy lady is a hippie!") and consequently confide in him. So, of course, I learned all kinds of dirt on my students from him.
There was one bit of information that he told me that I just have not been able to stop thinking about all weekend. Tyrone is one of my favorite students. He wasn't doing very well in my class at the beginning of the year, but pulled his grade up to a high B this past nine weeks. Given that he spent three of those nine weeks in alternative school, that's pretty darn impressive. He's great in class; participates actively, does his work, and gets really excited about what we're doing. The kid is very smart and has what it takes to do well in life. The three weeks he spent in alternative school were for two separate incidents, one in the school building and one on the school bus, in which he was fighting. I had no behavior issues from him in class the whole time, though. When I was talking to the teacher across the hall, I was really disturbed to learn that Tyrone sells crack after school in a "traphouse" to make some money for nice clothes and shoes and whatnot. He's not the only student of mine that I know is selling drugs, but it really bothers me that such a good kid is messing up in a big way.
Today, the other seventh grade science teacher came into my room to ask me a question about Science Quiz Bowl. She's coaching it, and I will be dropping by at some of the practices to help out when I can spare the time. I think that Tyrone was in alternative school for the previous announcement about Science Quiz Bowl where we passed around a sign-up sheet for interested students, because he didn't know what it was about but was really interested. He wanted to know whether he could do it even though he'd had discipline referrals this year, and I checked on the situation and got the OK to sign him up anyway. I told him, and I was being completely honest, that I thought he would be really good for Quiz Bowl.
I think it would be a really great thing for him to get involved in an activity that he'll excel at and enjoy. Maybe getting him off the streets for a couple afternoons each week will help to turn him around. It might not be enough, but I can hope.

Now playing: Jim Jones- We Fly High
speaking of which: I caved in and rapped for my students after school today, sort of. I let the three kids hanging out in my room talk me into doing a routine that went something like this:
Student 1: We fly high.
Student 2: No lie.
Student 3: You know it.
Ms. Long Skirt Blue Jacket: Ballin'!


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