It dark, cold, and early. I'm drinking the first good cup of coffee I've had in a while, my mentor teacher brought it and made it from civilization and if I could drink coffee like this every morning I might get up earlier just to sit and enjoy it.
Its Wednesday here in Mekoryuk and something is in the air, or water or who knows what. All the little personality deficiencies of the students are starting to come to a head. We've had more behavior issues in the last 4 days of school than in the first 4 weeks combined. Maybe its the equinox? Maybe its the fact that the honeymoon is over for a lot of students. They came in to school, ate the corndogs and sloppy joe's for lunch, checked their myspace for a couple of weeks, slept through a few classes and woke up realizing that they haven't changed all that much, or grown up that much either, and they're still as far behind as they've always been, bad habits still deeply ingrained in their daily life, and not much hope for change, because maybe they're scared to grow up, to succeed, who knows? With the mounting expectations, late assignments, undone homework, failed tests and bad grades, this is definitely the end of the honeymoon for some.
Other students are hitting their stride. They have their heads are down in a different way. They are down so that they can see the paper closer, to make sure that they get everything right, their heads are down because maybe it will tune out the obsequious banter all around them from less mature students more concerned with spinning a ruler around on a pencil or carving a skateboard company emblem in the wood of the table. The hard working students figured out long ago that their ticket off of this island was not defiance, but rather, a quiet steady diligence and compliance, not because they are giving in to "kassaK" or the "man" but becuase sometimes you have to do things you don't want to, to earn the freedom to do whatever you want.
Either way, they come in, sleepy, either proudly proclaiming with the expressions on their faces that this whole system is bullsh*t, or equally loudly proclaiming that its still bulsh*t but they aren't gonna give you any trouble. I just have to look for those moments where they let their guard down long enough to let out the secret that they really want to learn. And thats what I do, look and listen.