Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Great expectations...

A bitch’s friends are assisting me in my quest to sample the Smarties of the world. That Farm Girl hooked a bitch up with South African Smartie-based goodness! Almost simultaneously a certain Ryan of the damn can that man can cook Ryan’s brought a bitch a multitude of Irish Smarties!

This bitch is planning to incorporate Smarties into my Halloween costume theme…mayhap I’ll post a picture (wink).

Thanks to you both!

Congratulations go to Joe Miller for an enjoyable reading from his book Cross-X at The Big Read in Clayton over the weekend. Joe, two of the students featured and the debate coach were present.

Fantabulous!

Jumping right in full of Smartie-based goodness…

Great Expectations...
Some interesting shit came up in the question and answer section of the Cross-X reading Saturday. The issue of expectations and how students respond to them struck very close to home.

A bitch has written before about my experiences in grade school…the bullying, the taunting and the atmosphere of fear that existed for me as the one black kid in a class. People have asked me where my teachers were…and I had to laugh at the assumption that they weren’t standing right there the whole time.

Talk about great expectations (wink).

My teachers were silent observers…never attempting to stop the abuse from my peers…never challenging my lack of focus or the half assed efforts of a depressed child. Their expectations of a bitch were clear…be quiet, talk softly, don’t cause a fuss and you will be rewarded with average marks.

Write within the margins…keep it neat and precise…and no one will give a shit what you write about or if it makes sense.

By the time a bitch was in 2nd grade my ass was well trained and unable to read. I sat in the back of class…never made a fuss…stayed out of the bathroom because that’s where my peers preferred to beat me…ate alone and quickly…walked with my eyes down and averted. A bitch was broken…taken down to meet the expectations of others and forever putting others at ease.

A standardized test uncovered my deception. Trust that my parent’s were disgusted…they had different expectations...and they shared those with me in no uncertain terms.

I vividly recall the disappointment on my father’s face…the shocked disgust on my mother’s.

I’ll never forget how good it made me feel.

Yeah, I said good. To have someone expect more of me, to have them instantly respond that I was better than that and to hear those great expectations and know that they applied to me.

My mother proceeded to teach me to read in just under 2 weeks…under threat of violence and with a lot of yelling (wink). She then presented me to my 2nd grade teacher and I read from Little House on the Prairie.

In that moment this bitch defied my teacher’s expectations, met my parent’s and developed some of my own.

It was much like the scene from Cross-X in the moment when the debate team finally won it all.

Fan…fucking…tabulous!

As a volunteer, a bitch has witnessed the damage of low expectations and the power of great expectations. Through my service, I have had to challenge the origin of both…the assumption that poor urban youth will only go so far and my expectation that positive reinforcement will triumph over a system set up to inspire apathy and discourage ambition.

Great expectations say a lot about how an individual and community view the world.

Maybe it’s time to peal away that scab covering those low expectations and see what they say about us too…

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