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Archive for October, 2008

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Kent and I drove up with our friend Melissa to Duluth and Two Harbors on Sabbath to meet up with another friend, Carl, and go hiking and biking. We had a lot of fun, although a good portion of the day seemed to be spent in the car.

pink pebble beach
sunset on the pier
“mermaid” on the rocks
bean “soup” and potato “soup”
no spoons or bowls??
Superior washing job
“Senator McCain”
nuns
sky rats
the “basic” car
huff ‘n’ puff hill
baby deer
giant burl and friends
ice blue eyes on a dog
purple “manly” bike with a short seat
deer poop (shoes, socks, and pants)
gift shop bathroom (again??)
focaccia and garlic knots
air hose stretch (three bikes, no air)
pee in the pines
midnight and no bathrooms open
freaky guy chillin’ in the Bug
no biking in the hall!

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I thought I could do something with that, since most of my students fall in that category.  So here goes.

Sometimes I wonder how I am supposed to teach these kids about grammar, writing, vocabulary, literature, critical thinking, and all the other things that go into an English class when they are wondering how they will survive?  What does Shakespeare or Ray Bradbury have to do with someone who doesn’t eat when they’re not at school?  How can the health teacher teach the students to eat healthfully when they eat McDonald’s all the time because you can fill up for a dollar?  How can we encourage them to go to college (which is getting more expensive all the time) when they can’t afford to eat during Thanksgiving or Christmas break?  What about when they didn’t do their homework because Mom (or whoever) got behind on the rent and they had to spend the night somewhere else, hopefully with friends or family?  What about those for whom Mom and Dad are crackheads and they are the de facto head of the family?  And those who are in foster homes and can’t use their real names at school because a parent might find them?  How are you supposed to teach algebra and history and science and literature to kids whose whole family has never graduated from high school?

And this is a charter school.  It’s worse in large public schools where the student-teacher ratio is huge.  Sorry, Mr. Bush, we don’t need extra testing to make sure No Child is Left Behind; we need money.  Money for students and their families.  Jobs.  Insurance.  Yes, food stamps.  And money for the schools so we can hire more teachers, get more resources, and teach them so well that they can rise above the hungry nights and scary situations and get out into a good world.

It starts at home, folks.  Poverty worldwide is a terrible thing, yes, but remember when you see that young punk kid walking down the street in your town, he/she may not have eaten today.  And that cuts close to home.  Go out and do something.

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