Random Notes From Illadelph, pt. 2

Note: I wrote all this on the 20th. I don't feel like post-dating it, though. I don't willingly drop 20 dollars on a CD, but in the case of Betty Davis' They Say I'm Strange, I had to do it. The first song, Shoo-B-Doop And Cop Him is the source of the sample in Ice Cube's Once Upon A Time In The Projects. I've been looking for this song for about 18 months, so I really didn’t have a choice. I don't know if I would say it's worth the whole 18.99, but there's a couple songs on here that will probably find their way into regular rotation. I also copped Debra Killings' album, Surrender. Ambra suggested it to me and I was very impressed. While I was in the Gospel section, I saw some old Milton Brunson records that my mom used to have. I'm still undecided on whether I'm gonna get them or not, but my I know Granny would be excited to hear some of those song, so I'm leaning towards yes. It depends on what else I get into today. Might fool around and get an MP3 player today, but I've been talking that foolishness for months. We'll see. … LaShawn wrote yesterday about the NAACP's suing of a county in MD over the number of Black kids who get put into remedial classes and whatnot. Overall, I agree with her opinion, but I think there's something to the assertion that Black kids, especially boys, tend to get a much shorter leash when it comes to disciplinary action. Truth is truth and as the kids get older, many new teachers , young and perhaps smaller than the kids, are just flat-out afraid. And it's not like the kids are doing anything exceptionally bad or terrifying; they're acting like kids, trying to see what they can get away with. Walter Williams has written about many teachers not coming from the most stringent of academic backgrounds. I don't know about all that; I majored in English. What I do know is that instead of that touchy-feely how-to-teach stuff they need to teach potential teachers how not to be punks. For the year I did teach, that was just about the only thing I had going for me where classroom control was concerned; I didn't know quite what I was doing and many times I lost control of the class, but they knew I wasn't a punk; it wasn't just gonna go down in my classroom without me saying anything and I wasn't gonna back down. I tried it the administration's at the beginning of the year, not touching the students and all that. That's when this little boy used to come into my classroom every day talking about, "Tooley, you a bitch." I'd tell him to leave, but he wasn't listening to me. Why would he, when he could walk from whatever class he was supposed to be in to my class, call me a bitch, and nothing would happen. For the longest time, I didn't even know his name. But then, he came in my room with that racket on the wrong day. I was already pissed off from hearing Butterscotch's mouth, and here he came. He didn't know I had coached seven wrestlers to the league finals a few months earlier. I snatched that fool up, showed him four of his pressure points, and chucked him out of my room. After that it was all good. He even protected my door against other would-be interlopers, one time plugging somebody in the lip. See, I think a lot of these teachers come in thinking it's gonna be like Dangerous Minds; the kids will be tough and mean-looking, but deep down, they all have hearts of gold and it's the teacher's job to bring that out…before Christmas break. It don't work that way. Now before I started teaching, my mom told me I would have to come in wearing my "gorilla suit." I heard her, but I didn't listen. I had my own ideas. I planned on being that cool teacher that wore jeans and gave the tough assignments that they would secretly like. (I had my own "Dangerous Minds" daydream.) Lesson #1 reiterated for the 100,000th time —listen to your mother. It's like dealing with a puppy—you have to let it know who's in charge right from the get-go. If you don't, you're in trouble. So I said all that to say that sometimes teachers recommend kids for behavioral special ed because they don't know how to "man up" in the classroom. Kids are gonna be kids and they're gonna test the limits. Repeatedly. Even when you think you've got it established, they're gonna test you. That's what kids do. That's what people of all ages do. Need teachers with some heart. You go to teach in the city, you ain't goin' back to the days when the worst thing that could happen was a kid might pop zer bubblegum. In city classrooms, it's for real. … Copped a couple Joe Tex records at the used shop. Joe Tex is underrated. I don't know how he fared on the charts, but he made solid records and albums. (I need to discipline myself to stop using those two interchangeably, since they're not really the same thing.) A couple weeks ago, I got the 45 for Ain't Gonna Bump No More (With No Big Fat Woman), today I got the LP, Bumps & Bruises. I'll probably try to give it a spin when I get back to the crib.