Saturday, May 03, 2008
Prez & Pedagogy on The Wire
I wouldn't know about policing or politics (although all the SIGINT doesn't seemed too far-fetched) but in Season 4, much of the school story line is spot on. Or at least based on my 3 years teaching in a Middle School.
Of course I wasn't in a failing inner city Middle School like Mr. P (coincidentally, so many of my kid's teachers here on the Chicago North Shore have have even more unpronounceable Polish names, but I digress...) but a lot of it still rings true.
After college (think Netscape IPO time), I taught 7th and 8th in a school that implemented many of Ted Sizer's ideas on school reform on the Northwest side of San Antonio, where kids lived in the same gated community as David Robinson and George Strait.
Although I had my share of "challenging" kids not I can't remember being told to Fuck Off like Mr. P and the only blood I ever saw in the class room was from bloody noses.
And although I left teaching (for tech) over ten years ago, so many of the scenes in the latest (meaning what we are watching now) season take me (and my wife, who was also a teacher) back to our frightening "first year" and give me a sick feeling in my stomach.
Stuff like getting your classroom ready. Never being prepared enough. That awful silence in the morning that will soon be broken when the door opens. The perceived weakness and lack of confidence that let's your classes get out of control (relatively speaking, of course). The older female teachers that get the respect you wish you could command -- and the fear, which you hope you never will. The making it up as you go along, figuring out a month in what you should have done the first day (like come up with a classroom management plan). And then there's the good stuff, too. Creating that fragile bond with your students. And the humor and the tragedy. We've just finished Disc 2 so it will be interesting to see where this ends up.