Tuesday, June 17, 2008

train wreck (repost from myspace)

before i get in to the saga, can i just say that meeting Teresa Edwards yesterday was so incredible and her speech was inspiring and did what it was suppose to do INSPIRE, MOTIVATE, and a couple other things i'm sure were just happening to me.

back to the saga..... not back to..

here goes the saga may be better..how can i go back to something not yet started...over explaining mode..i'll try to turn it off..yeah there's a switch, somewhere.?

i have long passed concluded that not everyone should talk to children. well, in a professional way. you should speak to the children in your life that's not what i mean, sure you know that, i appear to be in over explaining mode. it kicked in about four hours ago as i talked the middle schooler's down from a mini mutiny. they were very pirate and i dug the way it came about but my pirate and my teacher went head to head and the teacher won. as she should have the pirate wanted to jump in there and tell the speaker what he was doing wrong but his defenses were way to high and i find in my old age i have a hell of lot less patience with adults these days.

the discussion was about drug awareness. it should have been called use scary statistics, nasty pictures, watery facts and package it to try to scare the hell out of kids awareness. i could see how it works on a certain group. but what i know about working with kids is you have to mix it up. you have to listen to gauge the maturity of the audience and which voice will work, kinda like slam , except they don't throw tens when you get it right but the can sling some venomous attitude if you get it wrong.

they were broken down into two groups. and the talk went over better with the younger kids. most of them disengaged early and he made the mistake of answering questions that were way to irrelevant to his point. the older kids not so much. they have a tendency to listen. now mind you it's mostly to catch you in a mistake or to dispute what you're saying, but they listen.

while i was listening i caught several skewed facts. he was harping on smoking pot, a lot. underestimating their knowledge of this particular drug.

what was done wrong.....

1. he started off ok, then made a blanket statement.

my definition of a blanket statement is one that is vague and covers too much to make your point stronger.

he was talking about inhalants and how dangerous they are. the kids were with him until he said that anything you inhale through your nose besides air is probably bad for you. now knowing the middle school mind i knew immediately what would happen and before i could say anything it started. "i inhale the smell of coffee every morning when my mom makes it. i smell my food. i guess i should tell my dad not to smell the flowers i bought him for father's day. omg, i can smell your perfume, it's damaging me, go away." the giggles started. the point was lost. his body language changed and said he was irritated. then his tone changed saying that he IS irritated.

2. he then made a statement about how damaging pot is and that people will say that they got a prescription for it but they are lying because that is just what people who like to smoke pot say. another blanket statement with loop holes this time. one kid says they prescribe marijuana for aids patients who suffer from side effects of their medication. he said they do not. now maybe what he meant to say was the prescription is not called marijuana. maybe what he meant was you can't get a prescription for marijuana plants in this state playing technical with the wording and leaving out that marinol (legal thc) is prescribed. but telling them only part of the information contaminates the information. at this point most are not listening, because they don't believe him and he's using his slightly ticked voice so now they are responding to it by becoming defensive.

3. then because they are talking amongst themselves disputing the information he just gave them he decides to shame them.. fyi, middle schoolers can be shamed into doing the right thing but not usually in large groups. he tells them that he gave the same talk to a group of white students and asked them to guess how many times he had to ask them to be quiet. NONE, he blares and the are now mutinous. shaming not highly recommended there are better ways to get their attention. comparing a group of black urban youth to white children in an effort to make them conform has never worked by anyone i've ever seen trying to execute it. just saying.

4. then because they are really not listening he switches to incarcerated youth and pulls up stats highlighting the statistics referring to black youth and acting like they can't see the stats for whites. then he says "Georgia gave a test called the crct. over 53% of the students who took it failed it asked them if they knew why." hands were raised. he ignored them and went on to say it was because they were either on drugs or in jail.

oh, snap!

did you hear that?

it was the straw that broke the camels back.

hands flew into the air. he looked at them ignored them turned his back ignored them then announced he wasn't taking any questions. pandefuckingmonium.

one girl insists says "the reason those kids failed had a lot more to do with the curriculum than anything else and why didn't he mention the number of white kids in jail or on meth? and not only black children go to school in the state of Georgia and how many of that 53% was white? (he should have never brought race into the conversation, and the fact that he was black did not help)

here i have to admit, my pirate was like you tell him girl, get the answer to your questions. but when he got in her face and started trying to shout her down with "we are not discussing this, and you don't know what your talking about" her body language matching his it was clear the discussion was over.

i pulled her aside and told her there are better ways to get your point across. just being right can't be your bottom line. if you know you're right sometimes that will have to do, because there will be lots of times when you are right and arguing that with some adults will not be to your advantage.

crazy...it was.. i guess i get it when some people cringe when i proudly say..i teach middle school, they can be a handful, especially when you DON'T know how to speak their language..i am fluent in mad middle schoolese;-)