Monday, November 16, 2015

A Visit To High School

On my way out of the house at around 6 AM, I panicked and grabbed several rolls of stickers. High school the first time around was awkward. This time, terrified again, I figured I'd buy my way into everyone's good graces by giving out smiley faces, frogs, and other animals. Because that's what high school is all about--being popular.

Or, in this case, it's about learning how to go to college. My brother teaches at a high school in the Bronx, and I do not. I majored in education for maybe a semester in college before switching to English, realizing that I didn't want to deal with junior high school and high school students or their parents. My brother has been teaching in middle and high school for over a decade, so he's used to it.  I am not.

Also, I'm not used to driving over a toll bridge to go to work. As we made our way from his place in Queens to his job in the Bronx behind large trucks and around double-parked cars, I admitted, Yeah, if I had driven, I'd have pulled over and started crying by now. And this was the easy part.

Meeting his colleagues was fine. Meeting his VP was fine. Meeting the head principal was fine. Even meeting the gym teacher was fine though I do have a lingering humiliation and loathing of the presidential physical fitness test--I mean, who needs to hang from a pull up bar for 20 seconds? Seriously.  And a 20 minute mile really ain't too shabby. Anyway, the phys ed teacher was great along with everyone else I met who work there.

Then there were the students. Terrifying.

No, they were not terrifying.  Aside from honestly not knowing that talking while someone else is talking is actually rude, they were nice. They asked me questions. They played my game of "Pick an index card and read it as if you're a student in my college class, guess what my reaction would be, and then resolve the problem before you'd have to say what's on the card in the first place." My brother said, That's a good idea. We passed around my syllabus. My brother called me mean because I don't accept things without a staple. I said that I do accept them the first time, but by week 11, you should have a stapler or know where one is.

And his students knew that, too. I don't know if they can write full essays, but from their work I saw hanging on the walls courtesy of my brother's decorating the room with their work so they could be proud, they are pretty good writers. They also knew that you shouldn't send an email to a professor that says simply Heyyyyyy. Seriously, they were appalled that I'd once received that email from a student. And during the beginning of that lesson--the do's and don't's of emailing your professor--there was complete silence for a few minutes.

By 10 AM, I was already exhausted. I don't know how these people teach with such a hectic schedule and limited supplies and resources. By 2:30 PM, I don't know how I was functioning, but there was my brother, answering questions and making sure the students stayed until the bell rang.

He went out that night. Like, he went home, changed, and went out. To a concert. With a friend.

I came home. I fell asleep at 7:30 PM. I slept all night through. I am not cut out for high school.

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