The other day, I listened to one student tell another that if you graduate from our school, you are not eligible for the Marine Corps, because "we don't go to a real school." When I asked him what in the world he was talking about, he repeated that you had to go to a "real" school to join the Marines.
Last I heard, charter schools like ours are not pretend.
Yesterday, I was cleaning some graffiti off of a wall - mostly random pencil marks. A student of mine watched me for a minute and then asked why I was bothering. I told him that if you let the vandals know that their tags would be cleaned up immediately, they'd eventually stop putting them up. He laughed, turned to another student, and said, "how's he think he's gonna stop the tags? We go to a gang school."
A gang school. Is that what they call it?
Today, I stopped at the student bathroom to wash my hands. When I entered, I saw two kids with money in their hands. There wasn't much I could do, they weren't doing anything wrong that I could see, but I was suspicious. I asked them what they were up to and one of them said he was getting change for the soda machine. I eyed them as I dried my hands, and even decided that I may have jumped to the wrong conclusion.
Just then, a colleague entered the bathroom, saw the pair with the money in their hands, and said, "Come on guys, can't you find a better place to do that."
The pair protested: "Why ya'll always think we're dealin' drugs or something, I just want some change."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah," he replied.
I stood stunned. A staff member just implied - directly to a student - that it was okay to deal drugs in school, just not where you might get caught. How do you improve the attitudes of the children when the adults have given up?
Later, I decided to walk across the street, get a dozen donuts, and hand them out to my co-workers. According to "Dexter," that's what normal people do to cheer each other up. I'm no sociopath, but sometimes, like Dexter, I feel like I live in a world full of people I can't quite comprehend.