Monday, April 7, 2008

Chutzpah

You know, there are times when I just have to marvel at the sheer chutzpah some students exhibit. First a minor example, than a larger one. Brief note: I choose to view each of these as a major example of chutzpah and not stupidity.

I was showing a poetry video in class today, as it is National Poetry Month. It is the first video in the Language of Life Series by Bill Moyers. The featured poets are Sekou Sundiata, who recently passed away, and Naomi Shihab Nye. My students were to keep their heads up, their eyes open, and their mouths shut during the video. That was basically the assignment for them at the time: pay attention to the video. One several students were unable to do this to the point where they earned themselves detention notices. One of them had a novel defense: “I wasn’t talkin’, I was sleepin’!” As if that behavior was such an improvement.

The larger example actually comes from another teacher in my school. She was extremely upset last week as her cell phone had been stolen off her desk in the last ten minutes of the day. She knew from talking to the phone company that calls had been made since then, some obviously from inside the school. A couple of her female students knew who took it and stole it back from him to give to her, letting her know who took it. The student who originally took the phone still had it, at school, today. There were pictures in the phone’s memory of him at school. He had erased all the numbers she had in memory and replaced them with numbers he wanted to call. But he failed to erase the log of ingoing and outgoing calls.

Come on. If you are going to steal a teacher’s phone, and you know she is actively looking for it and the person who stole it, why keep bringing it back to school day after day?

I must be getting old, because I just can’t understand the thrill in that.

2 comments:

Poetry Visualized™ said...

Well I think some kids not very smart this days. Thats a bad sign. Since you have some interest in Visual Poetry I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to a new web site solely dedicated to Visual Poetry. Check it out and spread the word about this new evolving art form www.PoetryVisualized.com

Art said...

The site looks interesting. There have always been some kids who were not as smart as the others. And some who are smarter than the rest. In the cases I cited in the entry, I maintain it was not a lack of intelligence, but an apathy as to what may happen. Perhaps an inflated sense of their own cleverness.

I'll be interested to follow the progress of your site.