Unbagging the Cats 1

Unbagging the Cats 1

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

East Coast Mouse, Midwest Mouse

Yesterday, I stumbled upon a blog written by a teacher in a state like Vermont or New Hampshire, talking about how one of her 7th-graders took the SAT test, and how the majority of the kids don't watch television, and how the teachers and students take an annual three-day trip to a camp in the woods where they all mentor and participate in character-building exercises. I can't remember the name of that blog. But it made me think. About public schools, not private.

I am very happy teaching in my small, low-income, rural district. I am right where I want to be. It's a good fit. You won't find our students taking the SATs in 7th grade, nor do they ride unicorns to school, unicorns which fart strawberry-scented rainbows, and leap over cotton-candy clouds. Our kids take the driver's license test. Sometimes in 7th grade. A student rode her horse to school one day. I don't know what its farts smelled like, but I'm betting it was akin to those of Rusty, the carriage-drawing horse that Kramer fed Beefarino. If our students don't watch television, it's because they can't afford a television. Or they have a television, but no money for cable, so they watch yard-sale DVDs. If we took a camping trip, the time would be spent gathering firewood and setting up army-surplus tents. That's just the girls. The boys would be rustling up some squirrel, rabbit, or deer for supper.

We don't have a library with leather wingback chairs, mahogany wainscoting, Georgian bookcases, or a roaring fireplace. We do, however, have a library. The chairs are hard, blue plastic, and most of them set level unless you get the one with the bent left legs. Our walls are white-painted concrete block, and the shelving is black metal. There's no fireplace, but if you get there first, you can sit under the heating vent that keeps you a toasty 68 degrees if the wind is blowing from the right direction. And guess what. Our library has books. Books that kids want to read so badly that there's a waiting list. And when one of those books is returned, the librarian looks up the top-of-the list student's schedule, and delivers it to the classroom.

We're doing okay.


Tammy said...

Nice. And nicely said.

Val Thevictorian said...

Thank you. I wouldn't send my kids to school anywhere else. Especially not the district where we live. I don't understand the teachers who teach here, but send their kids elsewhere. Unless it's a sports thing.

Mrs. Tuna said...

My daughter is going to ASU and majoring in secondary education and math. She really hopes to land a job in a small rural district. She wants to make a difference for which we are very proud.

Val Thevictorian said...

Mrs. Tuna,
You can't beat a small rural district. Well...except for the pay. But the working conditions are great. At one school, we only had about 10 students per grade. The cooks were always trying to whip me up a country breakfast on my 1st Hour prep time.