Tin Shop Tartan - Randolph County Alabama's Own Snarky and Surly Scot Gets All Native

Blogging from the suburbs of the Tin Shop community, Captain Plaid brings Progressivism, and a share of Quixotic angst, to the ridges and hollows of Randolph County, Alabama. Hardly a booster yet rooted here enough to fight, Plaidsters can perhaps find like cause in trying to build local solutions to global concerns. Education, environment, economy, entertainment, engagement ... Trust the Tartan!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Just twenty one more days of "Let me get a big 'hell yeah' from the redneck girls like me"

I came over to school pumped up. Teaching Europe with my theme for today as "Sex, drugs, and Rock & Roll" as we tackled the differences between the United States and Europe. Building off 420 Day and how Europe deals with recreational drug use. We had riot photos from last fall and even more recently as to labor conflicts. I had many cartoons, including one of Condi as Europe sees her. She was in a domatrix get up over an Islamic prisoner. I was loaded with goodies and hooks and tricks and "fun stuff" so I figured most things we'd do would be enjoyed. Yet ... the rednecks struck again.

In my first class, two girls are free drawing the Confederate Battle Flag with serious effort instead of watching a clip of Roman ruins and Pompei and ... I tried to redirect but the wanted to show their Lost Cause bona fides more than learn what we were covering. I erupted with the idea that they'd likely see a few more battle flags in Heard County in their life. I finished with the suggestion that if they could draw one so detailed from memory it was clear they had the image imprinted in their minds. So perhaps seeing something of culture and interest beyond their small world would be a wise idea. It got worse after this "college prep" class.

So many know little beyond drugs/drinking, dirt track racing, coon hunting, rooster fighting, speakers, ... This one or that one has a relative in jail it seems every few days. They seem to like and trust me so I am told things often that perhaps other teachers don't hear. There are some amazing kids over here and I "like" nearly every one I teach. But they surely make me sad!

However, some simply can't be taught in a traditional setting. "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig." often comes to mind. I think long and hard how to teach the best I can with twenty or more kids seated inside a concrete block room. I know a few learn and yet I often feel so ineffective. Without making excuses, if I had a few less Unreconstructed Rebels I'd likely get a little more done as far as helping these kids learn. So many have really never been exposed to anything of substance beyond their small worlds. The anti-intellectualism over here in Heard County plus my own neck of the woods runs I think to many levels.

Soldier on I will. But then I'm going to try to address at least some of the above concerns. As a society we must do better. These kids and their kids deserve solutions not excuses. As a nation we've got to find a way to break this cyclical poverty and deprivation. Peace ... or War.