June 4, 2007

aw, shit!

After school can be awful. I hold detention in my room, and it's hot, and any kid who was enough of a pain to get detention is probably enough of a pain to be irritating during detention.

So I let Nia and Luisa go early today. And Mon and Lona came to work on their math project. And it was perfect.

Did I mention that I took 6 of my juniors (and 1 sophomore I don't teach) on an Outward Bound course last week? I didn't? My bad. They were total rockstars, and did things like wake up at 5:30, pack the whole camp by 6 am, play Big Booty for half an hour, and hike a mile and a half before 7 am. Lisa had kind of a life-changing experience, maybe, and she's applying for a two-week course this summer. Anyway, Mon and Lona were on the trip, and they, like all the other students, were obsessed with calling me by my first name. At one point one of them said my name, and when I turned around she was giggling like crazy. "I just wanted to say it."

Now Mon and Lona call me North after school, or rather by my actual name. I don't really know how to express how much I love the relationship we have now, after a year of struggle and learning and 5 days of Outward Bound. Today, they spent two and a half hours in my stuffy, irritating classroom under the fluorescent lights working on exponential functions. I alternately helped them, read the newspaper online, and tried to write the final I'm giving tomorrow; when I couldn't explain something to Mon because I couldn't understand what he was thinking, Lona took over.

Lona'd been stuck at one point, but she got spectacularly unstuck, and it was like a lightbulb went on. I could practically see the neurons connecting. Later, she was working on a problem and figured out the pattern for a pretty complicated exponential function involving antibiotics, and when I confirmed that she was right, she jumped out of her chair and ran into the hallway and started dancing in the doorway, and then came back and screamed,

"Yo, this shit will blow your fucking mind, dawg!"
Ten minutes later I showed her the trick with the 9s table, where if you're trying to multiply a 1-digit number by 9 you count the number that's not 9 on your fingers and bend that finger down. The number of fingers before the bent finger is the 10s digit, and the number of fingers after the bent finger is the 1s digit. A simple little trick, but she'd never seen it before. She nearly fell out of her chair.
"Awwww shit! Math is fucking amazing!"

Names have been changed. But you knew that.

1 comment:

amelia said...

YOU are fucking amazing!