Monday, September 15, 2014

What I gathered
This what I gathered from T's first day of the equivalent of tenth grade/quinta ginnasio. First there was eye rolling and a general unwillingness to share, but I have my methods. You're welcome.

Allora, T got moved to the other building where the older kids mostly take class. Her classroom is universally hated by the professors. It is right off the entrance. It has a door with a knob on one side and a big, metal bar on the other side, kind of like a meat locker. One kid went to the bathroom and couldn't get back in. He had to keep knocking until they had pity on him and taught him how the door worked. There is an old fashioned pedestal that the teacher's desk sits upon. On one side sits a small black board, and on the other there's a large erase board that is so old that it is now gray. There is one measely map as decoration. Her class has diminished from 28 students down to 20. Some kids who were forced to retake exams to get back in didn't make it and have to start all over at another school. Whoever survives this year will have less chance of having to switch schools. There is also a tiny little radiator near the teachers desk that couldn't warm the whole room, even if this were Hogwarts.

Speaking of Hogwarts, there was quite a school of witchcraft and wizardry type of welcoming protocol for the first day. All the kids had to stand for about fifteen minutes while speeches were made by three gentleman and a woman who is known throughout the city because she is the vice principal and because she bears a striking resemblance to Cruella DeVille, flowing fur dalmation coat and all. One of the men was wearing a sash and one had an interesting dental situation.  One speaker was the guy whose job it is to make sure that the delapidated classrooms are up to code. He announced proudly that while there was some debate up to the last minute about what to do about their classroom, it was all settled. There has not been heat in that room for years. It is famous because the students wrap themselves in blankets during the winter. While he talked jokingly about the skirmishes that took place, another of the gentleman leaned in and confided in the kids that "it was like Vietnam."

The religion teacher made a valiant effort today to convert the unconvertible. The kids are usually split up into groups because her class is optional, but because she had a shot at everyone today she gave it a real effort. First, she made the class go around the room and say a thing about how one thing about the way they look makes them different from the others. Most people said stuff about their clothing. Riveting stuff like, I'm the only one wearing a purple t-shirt. She announced that the key word of the day was observation. She then asked the class how people first hear things. Knowing a trap was coming, they answered that you hear with your ears. Wrong! We hear with -- wait for it -- body language. Ah yes, you learn something new every day. The class was pretty sure that you don't hear with body language, but no one was going to contradict that teacher. After snack-time they came back into the classroom to find a pamphlet called Take the Plugs Out of Your Ears and Listen. It had a washed out picture of an ear on it that just looks like a big white blob. The pamphlet begins by saying that the teacher would like the children to carry this design with them all year long and all their lives, if possible.The take away is that we should listen with are hearts the way You Know Who does. And I'm not talking about Voldemort.
The image of a lifetime. That is a head with an ear on the left.

The new math teacher sported vivid pink eyeshadow, a cat eye, bright pink lipstick, uneven black-blue bangs, and an orange shirt. Even in that get up, she looked less like Professor Umbridge than the vice principal. There is a test on Thursday. She said not to study for it. I don't get that. The old Latin teacher told the students that most of the homework was optional, but she told the new Latin teacher that it was mandatory. These professors think they are dealing with a bunch of suckers, apparently.

The new Latin professoressa is not too mean. That's all you get.

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