There are breasts on my classroom window. A voluptuous, detailed set, but just one. I successfully removed the others, along with a multitude of other more… phallic sketches.
This artwork shows up regularly because the bus stop is located outside my windows and what else is a kid to do with more than an hour, plus a drawing utensil, on his hands? I mean, besides hop on a buddy’s shoulders and repeatedly ram his behind against the window, which has also occurred.
Heaven help the poor girl who is trying to teach in my room during that shift; it’s her first year, and she not only has to deal with the numskulls inside the classroom, but the ones outside, as well. I can’t blame her for closing the blinds and ignoring the artwork being crafted beyond them.
It’s just a little disconcerting, every morning, to unveil the windows.
In case you hadn’t heard, we’re running 11 periods a day at Moses Lake High School–starting at seven in the morning and ending at five at night. The theory is that at any given time, only 80% of our students are on campus. In reality, at any given time, only 80% of our students are in the classroom. The other 20%, well… who knows what they are up to? I can only report what’s going on in my remote corner.
You’d think that someone would be supervising common gathering areas like the bus stop, and I’m sure that happens, but no amount of adult supervision can cover 100% of the behavior of 2400 teens, 100% of the time.
I’d be willing to bet that the culprits are probably fairly rational people, given a different situation–say, a Sharpie plus their dream car. They’d be outraged if you suggested they draw obscenities all over the bodywork or slam their backpack or fanny into the paint job. They wouldn’t do it.
My question is, how do you awaken a sense of ownership in students for school? How do you awaken them to the incredible opportunity a free education really is? How do you convince teens to value something they have not chosen for themselves?
There will always be gaps in supervision as long as students are not self-regulating–as long as they do not see community assets like schools, and opportunities like schooling, as privilege not punishment.
The district is running a bond right now, and as much as we desperately need the space, dare I suggest that we also need an answer to this question, before we erect yet another edifice for our children to kick against in their resentment of the status quo?