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Field Notes #6

Lchase's picture


Field Notes #6

Today the kids had music class again. When I went to their class they were using the recorders again.

The students are playing a lot more advanced songs with different notes. They are practicing for a performance they are having!

  • Since the school does not have an auditorium the performance is after school at a neighboring school’s auditorium.

The students were doing very well on the first song but they started a new song today and had a hard time remembering the notes. The recorders were whistling a lot because they were not holding down the holes hard enough or were blowing too hard. It actually hurt our ears. But they did not give up!

The music teacher asked each student to play part of the song individually (in front of everyone; sometimes the students would laugh at their peers if they messed up which discouraged the student. The music teacher promptly told them to stop doing that but they didn’t really listen).

Ms. G. came to pick up her students after class; the principal came to the music room as well. Principal Rose* told me how much she loves Ms. G. along with saying “but don’t tell the other teachers! She’s the best teacher at this school!” The music teacher was in the room when Principal Rose said this which is kind of mean.

They went to the bathroom/water fountain/ silent reading.

They went back to their classroom and did a bit of review but not very much since it was the PSSA week. The students seemed exhausted.

After, the students went to lunch. Lunch is hectic! All of the students are running around, screaming, and throwing food.

There are only two lunch ladies for over 40 students. The ladies yell at the kids and discipline them a lot. It’s completely different down here.

After they are done with lunch they all file into lines, the girls again on the left side near their bathroom and the boys on the right. They are completely separated (down the hall, around the corner, and down a few stairs). I was a bit confused as to why the students were not allowed to go outside to play since they had been testing all day and should have been able to play.

I stayed with the girls this time.

One girl asked me about my religion which I answered by saying I could not talk about my religion. They wanted to know if I preferred Christianity or Hinduism. They did not like that I did not answer the question but accepted it after I politely refused to answer again.

Nylah* asked me if I could bring her to the bathroom. The lunch ladies refused to let any student use the restroom because the students were acting up (keep in mind the students barely are allowed to use the restroom. Usually about once a day maybe twice. This would be their first time the whole day and yet they were not allowed to). I told Nylah I needed to ask the lunch ladies if I could bring her first but she begged me not to because “they’re mean!” I then brought her to the bathroom.

After, I went to check on the boys and right when I turned the corner I saw Nick* on top of another student from another class hitting him.

All of the boys began screaming and getting out of their seats (they were all sitting in rows). The lunch ladies pulled them a part.

  • I asked the lunch ladies if they wanted me to bring Nick to the counselor and they said no because it was PSSA testing week. There was nothing they could do since both students need to be at school to take the test for the rest of the week and the next. The lunch ladies did not want to tell the principal either because of this.
  • I wonder if the principal was ever involved and if the students were ever counseled about the situation or disciplined.
  • I also do not really know what prompted this fight because when I tried to ask Nick he was crying and huffing too much to explain.

I offered to bring Nick to Ms. G’s classroom because he was crying and extremely angry.

The lunch ladies agreed but once I got to Ms. G’s class she asked me why he was there. I told her what happened and she did not seem to want him or deal with him.

  • This correlates with the school’s zero tolerance where the teacher does not get involved with fighting.
  • It was a bit weird hearing Ms. G. ask why he was there. I would have expected her to ask what happened to him and get his side or something but she just seemed angry.

After getting the rest of the classroom Ms. G allowed them all to go to the restroom then brought them back to her class.

My college’s art program came to Ms. G’s classroom and we all had arts and crafts.

Ms. G. did not want Nick to participate because he was being bad. He was also still angry and making huffing noises. He still participated and it was okay.

The students each received clay and were allowed to create whatever they wanted to. I was able to participate too.

  • I was at a table with three girls and one boy. We all made flowers and vases. They turned out really nicely. Next week they were going to paint them.

I was surprised as to how much the testing hinders the school. They were not able to do anything about the fight because of the PSSA’s. I was more taken back as to how Ms. G acted and I wonder how much teachers like the zero tolerance policy.