elbows up, side to side.

there's a great video called "lean like a cholo" available on youtube: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cqsrq34qDyk
everyone must watch it. today was a series of ups and downs. i'd rather not repeat the downs because they really aren't so bad, and they're just too boring to repeat. mr. rhodes' fifth period class brought me up again. i really hope my kids next year are like that class. i like that the usual bunch always asks me for help: adriana, miriam, jesus and jesus, cruz, nallely. the handful of seniors mr. rhodes has in class aren't going to graduate. they don't know enough english yet. i thought about how i got to take latin in high school, then french in college, and how fun (well, the latter anyway) it was to learn something new, just for the hell of it, you know? i don't know what it's like to study a language just to survive, just to graduate from high school. i don't know what it must feel like.

frankie is pretty down about his low grades. mr. cramer is making them write a persuasive essay, and for some reason, he chose to write his on being "pro-choice." i don't think he knew what it meant to be pro-choice, so i explained it to him. he seemed to agree with it still. he wrote about three sentences, then gave up. here's how the scene unfolded:

"well, frankie. you have two good reasons there. what are some other things to think about?"
he sat for a while, leaning back in his chair, reminding me a lot of my friend joseph in high school. he let out a great sigh, "i don't know."
i tried to encourage him. "well, these are some really good ideas you've got. how can we build around them?"
complete silence. he couldn't look me in the eye. i sensed his frustration, and tried to just be real with him. "you know, frankie. there's no real 'right' or 'wrong' answer. they just want to know what you think. the best thing i learned in all my years of school is how to think critically. mr. cramer just wants your opinion on something, and you have to back it up." i think of other things to say. "don't worry about grammar or organizing your paper yet. just let the thoughts come out."
"but there isn't enough time," he says, sadly. "i'm too late."
at this point, i wanted to tell him it was his own damn fault, that this paper was assigned two weeks ago. but i don't. "don't worry about the due date or not finishing," i said. "just try to get something down, even if it's just a page or a couple of paragraphs."
"i just won't do it," he said.
"you've got to try, frankie. you shouldn't give up. show cramer that you can do this."

at the end of class, frankie had only written one more sentence. what do you do with a kid like that? fail him, bury any speck of confidence he has, then move him on to english 2. repeat process. that's what our schools do, right?

i had this great idea for a story the other night. it was so great that i had a hard time falling back asleep. i still know what it's about, but i haven't started it yet. why is that?

meagan's reading the interpreter of maladies. great book. makes me wish i had a writing group, or a sense of cultural heritage. either would satisfy.

i want to learn to hip-hop, to disco. i've never wanted this before. where do these urges come from? nothing would please me more than to flawlessly perform a dance routine to "yeah" or "inside and out" in front of my family on a holiday.

security yelled at me today for driving too fast on campus. the day after i finished online traffic school. online traffic school is amazing, by the way. skip all the pages, don't even have to watch all the videos, then google answers for your exam. all for the low cost of $14.80. www.safety-usa.com.

pretty much all the useless thoughts i have to say for today. what can i say? i ain't going home solo. i'm lean like a cholo.


sprout said...

elbows up, side to side

Pandora said...

Good words.