Monday, July 11, 2016

The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School) | The Jose Vilson

The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School) | The Jose Vilson:

The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School)

James Baldwin Library

Over the last week or two, I’ve had a hard time compressing the experience of teaching students over the last year. There’s something disconcerting about teaching 90 students in the beginning of the year to 150 in almost in the blink of an eye. Yet, that’s what happened in December.
But before I speak on that, you should know the intense preparation I undertake to begin the school year. I hop in more than a week early, scrubbing desks, emptying lockers, labeling baskets. I re-order books, wash whiteboards, and toss out scrap material from the prior year. I order multi-colored folders, boxes of pencils, and reams of copy paper. I go through routines and rituals as if they were seated right in front of me then and there. I skim over lesson plans and quotidian First Day of School posts. I test out my teacher voice and blast inappropriate rap music at high volume while doing all of this. I become one with this classroom, the space my students might occupy.
In short order, they are introduced to adults left and right, some who they’ve passed by in the hallway but never bothered to inquire about. Their schedules have rectangular grids with enough space in the text to color-code with fresh neon marker. They’re given a redundant set of behavioral norms. They read their teachers for initial signs of weakness and codes of engagement. Who gives the most homework? Who shouts the loudest? Who’s too strict for their own good? Who’s going to give me that 90?
Meanwhile, I had re-dedicated myself to aligning my inside and outside personas, because I already carried so many multitudes that having one more grew tiresome. My students deserved this new me. The political self. The soulful self. The ebullient self. The serious self. The quixotic (and at times The Classroom Next Time (On My Last Day of School) | The Jose Vilson:

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