Today was the first day of the second session of summer school. Twelve notes about this summer so far:
- On the first day, I asked kids to write down a few hobbies and interesting things about themselves so I could learn their names better. One boy put down for his first hobby, “smoking.” A girl wrote one word: “lesbian.”
- One boy put down “tattooing” as a hobby. I can’t help but notice just how many kids have tattoos now. They’re not small, either. Maybe a quarter of the boys in summer school have large tattoos on their arms, and it’s long since become very common for teenage girls to have lumbar tattoos. These aren’t amateur tats done by friends in their bedrooms, these are professional store-bought works. Clearly, they’re getting these either with parental approval or money, or at least without opposition. What are these parents thinking? Permanently scarring the body of a teenager? How do they think this will affect them in life, already setting the bar of acceptable behavior that low? If they’re getting tattoos at 15, what do they think their children will they be doing at 25? Volunteering to read to blind orphans at the hospital?
- On the first day of class, I noticed two kids who spent their down time between assignments doodling in their notebooks. They drew mushrooms and one girl decorated a graffiti-styled “420,” a popular reference to marijuana smoking. She also had a 504, which isn’t surprising–I’ve come to believe that much of America’s special education, therapy, and remediation for teens is just treating their drug use.
- When I asked students to write interesting things about themselves for first day introductions, several put down their ethnicity. Continue reading