Today's word is the 'limpet ' I so often saw clinged to the Irish rocks but never knew the name of.
"If your child becomes a limpet, the teacher will peel him off your leg."
Kevin Harcombe; Learning to Let Go
I had just read the letter from an old NY.City friend who is teaching in the problem sector.
He puts it well to words:
"Indeed, teaching seems to be a work in progress. I do substitute teaching to try a see where and what works best. I've tried, from bilingual highschools with teenagers from the Dominican Republic who wear cloths that are two sizes too small, to "special education" schools where they throw together everything that doesn't fit somewhere else, autistic, retarded, emotionally disturbed etc. Not much chance for teaching in the latter case, but challenging nonetheless.
For example: The school day finished at 3PM, and I have to take 8 students who've miraculously survived 13 tumultuous years of existence and deliver them to their respective buses. I hold Kiki's hand. She's 14 and large, and was extremely sweet when I was working with her on the multiplication tables. Sweet, that is, until Noel - an angelic looking Puertoricon kid with Tico-like locks of golden brown hair, but a mosquito-like satanic personality, brushed up against her and whispered "ugly" in her ear. Kiki, who was sipping on a family size (large family) can of Sunkist Orange Soda, rifled the can at Noel's head...who ducked into a hip hop dancers magical floor spin in order to avoid to oncoming projectile.
Mr. Dinkins, the 350 pound para-professional standing at the door spun around and grabbed the first piece of adolescent flesh he could find, and put a murderous choke hold around the neck of Kent, a kid who'd been giving him trouble all day, but who, as fate would have it, had no participation in the aforementioned episode. Kent let out a wail, as Josue, a placid, palid Aspie whom I'd enticed into learning fractions by showing him examples of rough diamonds (models, not fakes) I'd cut in my factory, sometimes losing 1/3, sometimes losing 1/4, glided up to me asking when I would show him a real diamond.
Meanwhile, Kiki who was percolating, reached down into her back-pack, retreiving a hammer she'd lifted from woodworkshop - where well-behaved kids get free-time - and flung it like a petangue player in ole Bilbao- at Noel's angelic golden brown locks.
Noel flipped into a reverse head spin. Mr. Dinkins dropped Kent like a bag of melting M&Ms on a hot summer afternoon. Josue started crying.
And I made it for the door.
One neat Scotch later, I started thinking..."
(just the contrast to our present( yes ,here too) big city situations, where teachers have to peel the young ones off their own, rather than off their parents' legs.