Jottings from a pocket notebook

Another week of high school in da’ hood is in the books. Some interesting odds-n-ends from the week.

First, let’s look at the stats:

I subbed for the same teacher on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week – a teacher who had requested my services, was well prepared and even gave me a call during my stint to make sure had what I needed. Nice gig.

It was a rather wild place on Thursday, apparently. When I came back on Friday, I was given the schools ‘do not admit’ list – students who for whatever reason should either not be in class, or who need to be in detention. Between leaving Wednesday afternoon and returning Friday morning, the school racked up 7 out-of-school suspensions and 6 expulsions. Add in 3 mandatory parent conferences and 6 lunch detentions, and the disciplinary staff had a pretty busy day. In asking a staff member what went on Thursday , she just shrugged and said “Nothing unusual. Why”?

Just another day in the RSD.


I had one of my stock sub-student exchanges three times this week:
“Mr. Lucker…you aggrivatin’”!
“I know. What can I tell you? It’s a gift”.


A class I had on Wednesday was actually getting some work done, and we were in the midst of some decent discussion time, and I tried to interject a little humor into the mix. Class wasn’t buying it. One kid says to me, “Mr. Lucker – you a L-seven”.
I said “An ‘L-seven’? Guess I don’t know what that means”. Kid feigns disgust.“Write it on the board.” I drew an L then a 7 next to it. “Now push them together” the kid says. I did: L7. “See, Mr. Lucker – you an L-seven…a square”.
“Interesting” I said with a smile, “but if you draw the seven correctly, it’s closer to a parallelogram”. Kid shakes his head sadly, looks around at apathetic classmates and simply says, “See”?


Moving right along to…

Mark’s rhetorical question of the week: what kind of shot in life does a kid have when his parents name him ‘Lucifer’.


If you know anything about New Orleans, you know what second-lines are; the dancers you see leading most of the parades and jazz funerals. Second-lining is a big deal here, and kids are trained from a young age to learn the steps and twirl the parasols, etc. One of the security guards at the school I was at this week must second line: she strolls the hallways during passing periods with an authoritative, rhythmic movement, saying softly, “Less talkin’, more walkin’…less talkin’, more walkin’…” as she gently herds kids toward their classrooms.

There is nothing affected about her gait or patter – I would be willing to bet she is not even aware that she is doing it that way.

By my second day there, I was bobbing my head to her beat whenever she walked by my classroom.


One of the classes I had this week was an ACT prep class – seniors and a few juniors, a cut above the typical students. They were working in pairs, doing an exercise involving looking up some definitions in the dictionary. A young woman flipped the page in her Webster’s and found a small, round, smaller than a quarter, Band-Aid stuck to the page. “Eww. Look at this Mr. Lucker – a nicotine patch”. I looked down and chuckled. “I think that’s just a Band-Aid”.
“Uh-uh” said the young man she was working with, “that’s a nicotine patch, not a Band-Aid”, poking at the edge of it with his pencil.
“Naw, it’s too small to be a nicotine patch” I replied, adding after a pause, “…unless it’s one of those new, junior size ones…you know, kids size”.

Both of them slowly raised their heads, staring at me while they processed the concept. The young man got a bit of a frown as he looked at me and said, quite seriously,

“Mr. Lucker…you aint no comedian”.


One of things I truly enjoy is student’s complete earnestness in making out-of-the-blue inquiries and non-sequiturs. My favorite this week came during some independent study time as I was roaming around the room. As I walked by her desk, a girl looked up at me, light-bulb nearly visible above her head, blurting out, “Mr. Lucker! I just figured out who you look like”!

“Oh yeah? Who”?

“You look just like Tom Hanks…you both have high, white-guy forehead”!

Me and Tom. Who knew?

Like I said, just another week…


One thought on “Jottings from a pocket notebook

  1. Mark P March 7, 2010 / 12:14 am

    “light-bulb nearly visible above her head”

    We call that a “refrigerator light bulb” down here. She aint no 60 watt bulb – but she at least has 15 watts of smarts.


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