Monday, September 22, 2008

I Don't Really Like Listening to Whining, Either

Every school year when I get to my unit on Overcoming Indifference, I assign a service project to my students. And every year this happens I think about Jessica, a student I had my first year of teaching.

Jessica was, I am quite certain, the most angry adolescent I have ever taught. Perhaps it was just me she hated. Afterall, my first memory of her involves a tennis ball bruising my ribs as it spiraled through the air during an innocent icebreaker followed by her wickedly delighted smile at my reaction (the only smile I ever saw on her face). She was one of those kids I wasn't quite certain what to do with all year long. She was quite bright, but didn't want that information to be let out. And, like I said, anger was her middle name.

Well, Jessica, to my surprise, opted to visit the elderly at a nearby nursing home for her service project. As part of the assignment, she was required to keep a running log of her visits and write a final reflection paper.

Her reflection paper was good enough, but her visit log. Oh, her visit log. Never have I read such an honest account. Never have I heard such a sardonic voice. Never have I laughed harder. Picture me in a mind-numbing mad-dash to finish grades at the end of a term, coming across the following:

11/18/05: Visited Earl today. He likes chess but I don't know how to play so we talked for about 43 minutes about how many new businesses there are now. It was ok, I guess.

11/23/05: Visited Clea today. She can't hear very well so I had to talk really loud and then she heard me wrong I think. Talked to her for like 33 minutes.

11/30/05: Talked with Vern today. He was nice, I guess. He grew up in New York City and told me all about that. I thought that was kind of cool. I was there for an hour and 12 minutes.

12/5/05: Met with a guy named Frank. All he did was talk about how his wife died and that is sad but annoying. Left after 26 minutes.

12/12/05: Today I met with a lady named Marcene. She whined all about how teenagers are all hoodlums and up to no good and we don't have respect and complained some more about all sorts of things. I wasn't very nice to her. I left after about 17 minutes because I was sick of listening to her bitch.

Thanks, Jessica. I needed the comic relief.


Alice said...

hehehehe oh dear Jessica. That was some much needed comic relief on a long night of grading for sure.

I like your indifference unit. I enjoy hearing about the ah-ha moments some of your students have, even if it is just for a second. ;) You are making a difference my friend, you are.

Rie Pie said...

wow. just wow.

Anonymous said...

I hope she got her own point, or maybe someday. I had some similar athletes like Jessica. Some just never learn, I hope it will make a difference someday.

Mrs. Bennett said...

That is hilarious!