Monday, February 05, 2007

Passing along some note stories

When it comes to note passing in my classroom, I am not one of those sadistic-type teachers who reads the confiscated note to the entire class, but I do confiscate it.

Today, I had not one, but two memorable note confiscations. During fourth period, I saw a male student - we'll call him John Smith - passing around a note to some of the students around him. I walked over and confiscated it, putting it in my pocket as I continued with the lesson. At the end of the period, John came up to me and asked me if he could have the note back, as it was a letter from his dad. I told John to see me later because he was going to be late for class as it was. When I got a chance to look at the note, I noticed that it was a letter inside an torn-open envelope. It was addressed to the student, and the return address looked essentially like the following:

John Smith, Sr. #1234567
C.S.P. San Quentin
San Quentin, CA 94974

For those who might not be in the know, "C.S.P." stands for "California State Prison". San Quentin is a maximum security lockup where California's one and only death chamber is located. I assume this student's dad is not on Death Row, but the fact he is residing in San Quentin means he didn't merely steal a car for a joyride. Needless to say, I took the letter over to the student's next class and handed it to his teacher to give it to him. I wanted that letter in my possession as little as possible.

Not two periods later - sixth period - I confiscated another note. There are two girls in that class who sit next to each other who I should have separated a long time ago; why I had not, I'm not sure. Finally, today, I had reached my limit, and I separated them. I kept Girl #1 in place, and sent Girl #2 to another seat. They protested as much as you would expect, but Girl #2 went to her new seat without too much fuss. About 20 minutes later, I saw Girl #1 trying to hide a note from me that she had just received. I walked over, took it, and put it in my pocket. I always nonchalantly put a confiscated note in my pocket and just move on with the lesson, then read the note later after the students leave.

After 6th period was over, I took the note out of my pocket, and to my astonishment, here is what it said - word for word, uncorrected, and unedited:

Girl #2: hey gurl I Hella mad man dis nigga moved me the hell ova here
Girl #1: I No lets be bad
Girl #2: forreal lets be talking out and stuff. and laugh OUT LOUD LOL!

OK, I don't understand why they spell it "gurl". Next, I guess I should feel honored that Gurl #1 referred to me as a "nigga". I hear students on campus say that to each other all the time, and it seems to be a friendly moniker. I guess this means I have been accepted as one of them?

All kidding aside, I don't know if this is bad, but I felt such a feeling of cathartic pleasure during during my phone conversation with Gurl #2's mother as I read to her - word for word; including the word "nigga"- what her darling daughter had written in the note. The mother was absolutely mortified. As for my phone call home on Gurl #1, the home phone has been disconnected, the cell phone number netted me a recorded voice telling me that the person at that number is currently not accepting calls, and the third number was a wrong number. It is this gurl that needs a call home more than the other one, and naturally, I can't contact anybody at home. Kinda tells you why there is such a problem in the first place.

The only thing I am still left wondering from all this is whether or not these two girls can spell any better than they did in that note. I am wondering if I should give a copy of it to their Language Arts teacher?

Good Day to You, Sir


bluejay said...

Thas rite, blam uz langige artz teechers fur ale the mispelungs theze keds due. wee doo are bes an cant bea blamd ef theye doan lern!

Chanman said...

Hee, hee, hee :D

one of them said...

"I guess this means I have been accepted as one of them?"

One of them?! What do you mean by "them"? I'm deeply offended.

Chanman said...

Well, since I never realized I was a "nigga", I am apparently one of "them" now.

George said...

Mr. Chanman - you really need to focus on boosting test scores instead of confiscating notes. Your results were not high enough from last Semester. If these children do not improve their test results then you must clearly be the one to blame. Perhaps you should have corrected the note for grammar and spelling, except that you could not have written the "n" word in its entirety as you would have been considered a racist.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

But see-- at least they're WRITING! They probably used inventive spelling earlier in their academic careers. Why is it not acceptable? Don't stifle their creativity!

I get called "Dude" a lot. Which wouldn't bother me as much if I actually WERE a "Dude."

I also get called "Mom." Followed by much red-cheeked embarrassment.

A few years ago, a kid called me "Beavis." I smirked at him and said, "If that's so, who does that make YOU?" After we wiped the tears from our eyes, he never did that again.