Friday, October 04, 2002

The average three year old, living in wealth, has a larger vocabulary than the average adult on welfare!!
This blows my mind - A three year old (someone not allowed to cross the street, someone who can't tie their own shoes, has never been to school, and probably can't remember their phone number) knows more words than a 30 year old adult!

I can't decide if the Culture of Poverty frustrates me or inspires me. The lack of words (as documented by Payne) frustrates me. The concept /attitude of "fate," instead of personal decisions and choices, frustrates me. The lack of respect frustrates me. The constant touching bothers me (I like hugs at the end of the day - I don't like being huged or having my hair braided while I'm teaching!) The laughter when it's time to be serious bothers me, and the constantly loud voices bother me..

BUT . . . the community and relationships inspire me (Students and parents look out for each other and take care of each other on a much deeper level than would ever be allowed in Middle Class Suburbia). The forgiveness half of the "penance - forgiveness ritual" inspires me. (No one holds a grudge - - there might be a couple hours of intense anger, but my students get over it relatively quickly -- no matter how deeply they were hurt). The humor, the creativity, the commaradary, it's totally amazing and it all inspires me! I love it, I hate it, it challenges me, it frustrates me - - it's a lot of fun (except for when it's not!)

Next week, one of Ruby Payne's minions will be in town to do a workshop on teaching in high poverty situations. In any other school district, 2-3 teachers might get to go, while remaining teachers taught a regular school day. BUT . . . Because we are a charter school (and don't have to follow silly state regulatoins!) our principal decided to CANCEL school on Monday so staff could attend this workshop. (Cool - Very Cool!) I'm looking forward to it. I wanna know more. I wanna figure it out. (Do you suppose it's actually possible for a staff development day to be useful and relevant??)