Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Red On Yellow...

... Kill a Fellow,
Red On Black,
Leave it the hell alone, you're not a herpatologist!

That's not the way I learned the rhyme, but this is Dave's wisdom for his daughter who took the picture of said Micrurus tener tener, aka the Texas coral snake (we have our own species! Oh joy!), on our driveway as she was walking to get the bus to school. She wanted me to come out and look at it, but clothes were too much trouble, and I didn't think a large, naked woman in the driveway would fly--even in our rural neighborhood. The wildlife in our yard continues to be a source of joy and wonder--even if most of it is lethal in one way or another.

I obviously didn't get a second post out yesterday so today is the day to talk about Jessie's high school experiences to date. I don't get a flood of information every day from her: she's a quiet kid. But at the end of a week and a day she has decided she hates school. Not unexpected as she has only mentioned talking (willingly) to one or two other kids, none of her classes are sparking her (yet), and she dodged the pep rally last week by hanging out in the cafeteria. Apparently there were enough other kids with the same idea that there weren't any places left to sit so she stood in the cafeteria for half an hour until it was time to catch the bus home.

One of the first things she talked about (in amazement and with disgust) was the lack of respect the students show the teachers in many of her classes. They wear earbuds during class, talk loudly, and blatantly, repeatedly, ignore teacher instructions. This kind of behavior was not tolerated in Mr. Smith's class at the Waldorf School of Atlanta, and the one student who tried to pull it (a late-grade transferee from a public school) didn't last long in the class. McCallum is a different world. It's Austin's version of an older, inner-city high school with a fine arts program open to students across the district. With that designation comes diversity. Diversity, while good, doesn't mean good. Diverse is just lots of different. Exposure to different is good in that it expands one's world view and experience. But diversity in manners, diversity in politeness and kindness and honesty... those are just different, not good. J has been alienated, affronted, and appalled by some her fellow students' diverse behavior. At the end of her second or third day she mused that it might have been better if she'd gone to the Waldorf high school here because at least then she'd know what to expect.  But I have no doubts that, long term, this high school will provide a more meaningful experience for her and enable her to successfully interact with a more diverse group of people in the real world.

On a more positive note she seems to be confident in her knowledge of the materials being covered in her classes. She doesn't feel behind the other students, she's keeping up on her homework, and she seems to like her teachers. Expectations of the students are a bit lower than they were at Waldorf: They can use calculators on their algebra tests, and when taking quizzes on mapping in world geography they can use their books and the big map on the wall.

Of course Jessie wouldn't be Jessie if she wasn't practicing her super power. She is convinced that she has the power to make people overlook her--mostly teachers looking for someone to read aloud. However she said that she does raise her hand in class, and she does participate. Participation is good because a portion of her grade in every one of her classes is based on participation. She is already looking ahead to what film school she wants to go to after high school. But she is convinced that if she tries really hard she can make people ignore her. Heck, it works on me half the time.

So while the lunchroom has yet to be conquered, and friends have yet to be made, high school is turning out okay.

1 comment:

Bill said...

My own high school experience was pretty negative overall. If hers is neutral or only slightly bad then I envy her.