Day 33

The school year chugs along. Last week I spent a week at Northbay with the sixth graders, including a couple nights in a cabin with the boys. I blame that experience–my second such sojourn since i started working at the lovely hippie-dippie urban charter 3 years ago–for the blogging hiatus. Overall it was very positive. The kids got to face their fears on the zip line, the giant swing, and on a high ropes course. I got to do all that stuff too, which is great fun but insufficiently remunerative for spending 100 hours with the students in one week.

Currently the 8th grade boys are on an Outward Bound adventure, so I’ve had the pleasure of teaching two smaller classes of only girls this week. Sapphire, who was in my class in 6th and 7th grade, told me today “I didn’t know you was white! I thought you was mixed!” To which Shammy–who has called me ‘Fawther’ since 6th grade–replied “girl he just SEEM black.”

I hadn’t the slightest idea that I seemed black. I’m not sure, in fact, that I understand what it even means to seem black. Sapphire was so upset that I wasn’t mixed that she felt compelled to tell me “no offense if you white–I mean Caucasian.” I told her I am mixed if you go back far enough, and then I told her if you go far enough back we ALL cousins. My maternal grandfather was born in New South Rhodesia, and didn’t come to the US until he was 7. He didn’t seem black at all.

I’m under strains and stresses at work. Teaching is hands down the most exhausting, challenging, and strenuous work I’ve ever done. I wonder every minute of every day if I know what the fuck I’m doing. Usually at jobs I get promoted over and over–I’ve been a public school teacher in B’more for more than 5 years now and I still feel like a rookie who can barely maintain.

I desperately want to read something tonight but I’m too pooped. I’ma watch the O’s game and the debate, which my kids are watching for homework. Next week I get a fourth class added to my schedule–an advanced reading class. I am using Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House with a motley crew of 6th,7th, and 8th graders who read at senior high level. Despite the extra work it will entail, I can’t wait.

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