Saturday, September 15, 2018

Florence and the Machine

I am exhausted from the endless coverage of Florence the now tropical storm which is still getting the coverage of the Category 4 Hurricane that it was when it began.  The lies of the administration kicked in and there was I actually believe that many wish this bitch was bigger than the dick Harvey that came before.  One: Because Trump needed more validation and Two: The Media wanted to use it shame, embarrass and clutch pearls collectively.  There is no point seeing one newscaster after another being pummeled by rain and wind telling us what we can see, thanks.  This does nothing to actually support the view of the media in anyway but every cane is a hurricane just ask New Orleans and it's served in a keepsake.

The local media here is quick to send broadcasters to cover the local churches and their roles in saving the people and towns in the path of the tropical storm with the endless requests for donation and prayers as a side note.   We have to have a local connection to a disaster apparently. Really is that necessary and that is great but the news is not a fund raising source nor should be.   There is the need to report on what now is primarily a local matter and one that could be a secondary story to the main news of the day.   And that is what?  As again local news cedes to be a Facebook video full of mug shots, crime reports and sports.  When the news actually covered Paul Manafort's guilty plea I thought perhaps it had been a slow crime day.  And that is the irony that the community that the news should serve is in a blackout due to a lack of electricity so the coverage does nothing to alleviate concern if one's family is in the path of danger and are alright.  Funny once again social media could provide that but wait that blackout thing. That is a contributory factor in the Puerto Rico death count.  When you cannot communicate and rely on electricity to charge cell phones and PC's how does  one know anything?  Oh the TV? Right. But that is truly the secondary source of information for most folks as it is all on the magical 3x5 cards.  And their idiocy shows.

Here in Nashville our news is focused largely on the issue of crime and in turn predominantly issues of race and and the age of the perpetrators, most of them Teenagers.   The bulk of crime here is committed by faces of color,  and while those are predominately black faces, we have a huge Kurdish presence who seem to rarely get mentioned nor the remaining Latin quadrant or White Trash, none of them are near the level that the Black community encounters.  And the level of discourse regardless of the audience is fairly distressing as one peruses on Scoop Nashville on where? Facebook.  (Where I suspect much of the mainstream news gets its stories).

And as the week ended I was not shocked to hear that once again a Teacher/Coach and Student went at it. This is not sexual but again that too is the second most reported encounter in the news of late.  We have had many coaches and others in the area charged  with assault that is sexual in nature.  It was that  Middle School I went to this past week to see if the problems I had experienced the first and sole visit were still ongoing and of course find out the true story of the Teacher found in 2016 with a gun.  The kids were still as nuts as ever and I had the 5th and 6th graders this time and it appears the older grades once again are as troubled as ever as this encounter seems to describe.  That said that day the kids said the Coach would take them and many of them left the class (which I felt no need to verify or care as it meant fewer kids to manage) and frankly it again concerned me that this taking of kids from classes and giving gym time seems to be the idea of classroom management throughout Nashville's public schools.  The idea I speculate is that the Coach is a masculine figure who is paternal and of course disciplinary figure who uses sports as a manner of attaining compliance.   What.ever.

I have laughed at the current state of the schools here as they are the dumpster fires they always were not worse just the same and my coping strategies are actually working so I am pleased that I am managing my own anger in a healthy way.   As on Thursday I returned to the school that two years ago on the last day of school the Special Ed staff put me in an adjacent room with cats.  Yes cats. I was asked when I arrived if I had allergies and when I responded no they said I could stay in this class with the cats to mind them as kids and staff were coming in to look at them and see who was going to be placed on the list to take them.  I never spoke, was spoken to  nor monitored any of it.  I read the paper and then after a couple of hours I wandered the building went to the bathroom for 30 minutes where I sat literally and cried.  Came back sat there and watched as in the adjacent room the SPED kids and staff sat watched movies and had treats.  I was not spoken to offered any coffee or even acknowledged or asked my name.  This is Southern Hospitality. So when I came back I got up to check the cats (or at least act as if I was) and quietly left by the side door with about an hour left in the day.  When asked by someone why I did that and would they not say something, my response was what would they?  "Hey the sub we put in the room of cats was sitting there for over two hours and then she just got up and disappeared do you know where she is?"  Really?  Go ahead a dock my $11/hr then, yes that is what an educated, trained, and credentialed Substitute Teacher makes.

That SPED gig I do a lot. I returned Thursday to the cat school and I at least did not see the Principal feeling compelled to ride around the building on a hovercraft, nor did I actually have cats in my care.  It was in fact an actual gig that  once again,  however,  I was spoken to like a dog who needed training and ignored when not.  Some things never change.   I saved that day by leaving at my scheduled time and going right to the movies, The Wife, which was well worth my admission price and it took away the stain of that hideous morning.   I had taken that gig over the one I was at yesterday as I knew it would be as stupid if not at least entertaining as the week before but no less boring as shit.  As I rarely do anything except stand there invisible, ignored and marginalized. Like the students only at least I am paid.  (well sort of)

Last week I walked to this school which is a block from my home hence why I take the gigs but I have never found a respite or even belief that anything there is servicing the kids, the communities or even the Teachers.   It is truly sad, grim and pathetic.   The school is one of the three alternative schools that take kids who cannot be in a conventional school setting, some by choice some not.  It is the type of school that can truly be described as a place where Institutional Racism lives.  Last week I was there along with two other subs whose job was to be support staff and aid Teachers with assigned students.  Here I "watched" and took notes about a young girl who careened from room to room and did nothing that comprised learning of any kind.   I did enjoy watching the other Sub and the Counselor go at it while the full time Teacher and I sat there and did nothing.  This week I just sat at the computer and watched more of the same behaviors, including the girl throwing books, ranting and raving, go through the Teacher's desk, removing items and then getting up and walking out all in under 5 minutes or less. I yes monitored the time.  The regular Teacher had meetings which left me alone to watch the show.  I spent most of the time alone with the doors opening and closing when Students would walk in and ask for money, food, earphones and then leave.   As I had no keys to lock the door or use the toilet I put a paper over the window during the one time the kids were at lunch and pissed in the classroom sink.  Yes I pissed in the sink. Not the first time I have done that in a school as I am never given keys or shown where the Adult restroom is nor have a place to secure my belongings while I go to said restroom so I just ask whomever lets me to leave it locked and I open it when kids come to class as most schools require the doors locked during that period.  So if I leave I have to rig it or again find someone to unlock it.   So again if you have a better idea in which to relieve myself please let me know.  I feel degraded, angry and exhausted. Yes, let me stress this again, I am forced to piss in classroom sinks less I get locked out of a room or use the kids restroom and risk being accused of something, robbed or harmed as I have to bring my belongings with me as I cannot risk leaving them.  Again how would you feel at the end of a day?

And that is not just this school but it is one of many.   Finally with an hour left to the day another meeting was ongoing in the actual class and I excused myself once again with no keys and nowhere to go.  In another school I sat in the stairwell and they actually came and found me to let me back in the room so this time I chatted with the Math Teacher who had decided to lock herself out of her own classroom to prevent another student who also shared similar behaviors and decided this was the only way to handle it by observing it in the hall.   No Administrator or Counselor came to assist.  The same Counselor who was intent on telling me about how to handle the young girl (which I had no intention of telling him this was above my pay grade and let alone I could care less) never came up but had earlier looking for her, picking his nose while asking me where other Teachers were as if I fucking know.  Honestly the dude is an idiot and in a perfect gig for a school with less than a dozen kids and no structure or organization in the least.   Again these are all faces of color from the Administration to many of the staff and the children are largely Latino and Black and this year it seems to be the former versus the latter and that is because of the language barriers and ever present gangs in that community that lead parents to try whatever it takes to get their kids educated.   So when you do this to children who are of color, who are poor and often with special needs from learning to language you are failing them.  You are doing nothing but housing them with no clear plan or structure that will enable them to return to their schools and integrate into the mainstream.  It is tragic, grim and pathetic.  This is Institutional Racism.  So once again when I had nowhere to go and an hour left to the day I found my leave via the back door. Even the sign that said it was an emergency door was a failure.  Things work out when you have a plan, this school has none. But few do as that is Nashville Public Schools.

The sordid reality is that this city pays Teachers less than anywhere in the state and a blogger here documents this subject in his blog, the Tennessee Education Report.  The other Blogger,  Dad Gone Wild,  documents the constant strum and drang from personnel to legal issues in the district despite his failure be elected to the School Board it is clear his role as watchdog is by far more important.  The School Board here is so dysfunctional that one is even profiled on my favorite racist Facebook site, Scoop Nashville.

I write to cleanse and document the day as I write my own book I have elected to use these as generalizations to simply point out how racist and incompetent the management is much like those in restaurants as I call my book, No Substitutions Please.  The comparisons are not lost on me in the least.  I leave every school feeling as if I had just dumpster dived for food and came out empty handed and I am there only for the hours I am there.  I try to get out of there as fast and furious sans a car or Vin Diesel as that is the only way to stay sane.  Otherwise I suspect I will turn into the Teachers that I meet, unkind, dismissive, rude, abusive, afraid or exhausted.  Thanks I will pass on that helping.

So this is where we are in America. We care more about the weather and the daily tweets of Trump than what is actually going on in our own community.  There is this station called The Weather Channel that covers just that - weather.  There are other things in a neighborhood that matter, shame Mr. Rogers is dead as he might find it is beautiful day or not if he lived in Nashville with the crime, the violence and the problem with youth here.   Blame a Teacher right?

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