The first year teaching art I was bombarded with gathering supplies, creating a semi-normal managed class of wanna-be-gangsters, and processing all the cross-cultural (yes, African American) lingo. Another challenge was determining what and how to discipline these kids. Most were safer and taken care of better at school. There were exceptions to the rule. Here's a candid example:
At 8:30am my 8th grade class strolls in, "What Up Ms.Corl", "Yo Mic C.", "Can I just sleep", "What we doin today", "I hate this class". I appoint them seats, otherwise I'd be breaking up fights and peeling boys off of girls, so they were at different tables. After roll call, as if it mattered, a young girl strolls in with her late pass, eyes all red and looks exhausted. I think, "wow, she must have had a rough night", oh then she gets closer to hand me the slip. WHAT IS THAT SMELL? I'm getting high just standing next to her. She's grinning from ear to ear, wearing a black Bob Marley hoodie. Uh, "are you ok?", I asked, dumbfounded. The other students chime in, " oh yeah, she's bettah than ok, she's UH-IGHT!", and another blurts,"hey, you bring some for us", and a couple girls laughing, "she so high".."eww girl we smell yo pot smokin self from her". I look and just point blank ask, "are you stoned?" , "who brought you to school?" She replied, "no and my stepdad brought me" , her WHITE stepdad. Ok, so I tell her that I have no choice but to let the office know, but then I realize she's better off at school. She sits down and can't wipe the smile off her face, filling the air with stale pot smoke smell. It wreaked! Then of course the questions begin(to which none I answered), "Mer.Corl, you even smoke a J?", "Do white people get high?" I decided to just begin the lesson, let them have their laugh, and get through the day reminding them that "drugs destroy your life". But lets be real, to a fourteen year old, it was all fun and games. After all, if she's smokin doobies with her stepdad on the way to school, calling home wouldn't make much of a difference.
(*She was eventually transferred to another school after repeatedly saying inappropriate comments to the principal*)