Category: Publius

Kevin

By | Prose, Publius

This week we’re giving yet another standardized test, one of many. Kevin can’t stay awake. He’s angry when I force him awake again and again. Finally, he gets rude, disrespectful. So I keep him after class. I want to talk with him, because this rudeness, this disrespect, this sleepiness is becoming more frequent. Indeed, there’s …

Robert

By | Prose, Publius

My kids and their abandonment issues. When I discipline a kid, I always make it clear that I like the kid but dislike the behavior. And I always make clear that I won’t abandon the kid, despite the behavior. Some kids will go out of their way to have time with me. Once a day, …

Ghetto Hawk

By | Humor, Prose, Publius

Today, after school, I stood by a yellow bus. I looked up and saw a broad wing hawk swooping down on some pigeons. Poor pigeons, I thought. But as the hawk narrowed on a single pigeon, it turned abruptly. The hawk overshoots. Then the pigeons begin to swirl around the hawk, swirl in such a …

Cousins

By | Humor, Prose, Publius

I once taught in an inner-city middle school, in which I was one of only two white people, both of us teachers. A student once asked me, “Hey, cous’, what page we on?” I run a rather formal classroom. So I turned to him and said, “Mr. Knight, I’m white and you’re black. Do I …

Dr. Dog

By | Humor, Prose, Publius

Black folks use the word “dog” in the same way white folks use “pal” or “buddy.” It’s familiar. It’s friendly. But it’s not suited to formal discourse. So Victorio says to me, “What page we on, dog?” Then gapes at me, knowing he’s crossed a line. ‘That’s Dr. Dog to you, sir!’ We pause. Then …

Danny

By | Prose, Publius

Danny. Danny. Danny. To borrow a line from my favorite show, The Sopranos, “Between [his] brain and [his] mouth, there is no interlocutor. “ He’s a good spirited kid. He’s not mean. We’ve grown fond of each other. But he just does what he does and says what he says. And the school system offers …

Danny, The End

By | Prose, Publius

The paperwork has finally arrived for Danny to be sent to special ed., or what now goes by the current cliché, a “resource room.” We first put-in for his transfer back in August, as I recall. If I were to count all the time the 7th grade team has taken from instruction, this to attend …

Occasionally I have parents

By | Prose, Publius

Occasionally I have parents who offer to beat their kids in front of my class. I politely decline, like I do again today with Samantha‘s dad. Last semester, Samantha’s father was the first parent to make such an offer. At that very moment in my classroom there were medical students from the nearby university. They …