Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My Stanky Leg

I worked my first football game this weekend and in the back of my mind I am convinced that is why they lost 8 to 21. They were playing our biggest rivals, who clearly take football much more seriously. They came to our stadium with a full marching band, cheerleaders, and a much more prepared team, complete with back up dancers. Needless to say, we were categorically shamed on our home turf. The game, however, was not the most interesting part. Half time definitely stole the show as the marching band took the field complete with three different "dance" groups. Now I am not sure that you can call what they were doing dancing, as much as gyrating with anger. Each of the dance groups would take their turn shaking their butts as fast as humanly possible, until it was time to be relieved by the next dance group. I was honestly very surprised by the sexual undertones of the dancing, and intrigued by the fact that the dancers did not seem to view it that way. At one point I found myself believing that this was the only logical way to move to marching band music. It was as if booty shaking was merely a cultural dance equivalent with modern day Indians engaging in a rain dance around a bonfire. I was also immediately impressed with the intensity of the performers. These girls could literally have snapped their spinal cords in two with the deliberate intention behind their movement. As a people they do not do anything half way, including dancing. The grand finale began as the drummers all pulsed their hips in a forward motion each time they hit their drums, while the dancers went into a complete frenzy until they all ended up lying on their backs. Even though we were completely outdone, the audience could not help but clap for the ostentatious fashion in which is was accomplished.
The dance that followed the game was another highlight of the evening. Each of the students made their way to the dark gym that was complete with a makeshift D.J. holding a microphone up to a boombox. I was surprised to see the number of elementary school kids at this function, and even more surprised by the manner in which they were dancing. These 4th and 5th graders could literally move their backsides in ways that will not be invented by club goers for another 20 years. Their rhythm and the sheer ability to move is literally astounding. I have never been to a dance before where people were literally dancing with as much intensity as they possibly could, and I have never felt more at home. I know the feeling of needing to move so intensely to get something out. At one point I couldn't hold back any longer and joined in with a common dance called the "stanky leg." I have to say that my students were pretty impressed at just how stanky my legs could get! On a side note, Chiquita found me at the dance and said she will be back from the learning center in 45 days. I am mildly sure she was only speaking to me because here friends wanted to meet the guy from High School Musical, but I am glad that I was able to tell her that I miss her. It was clear that she was by far one of the best dancers in the entire school. I think we may have found a way through to her. I have to admit that I was very concerned with the amount of students I was convinced were either drunk or high. Now I know that this may not be totally uncommon for high school students, but the openness of it all is what caught me by surprise. Many of the students did little to hide the fact that they were intoxicated, in fact I had a conversation with one of my students about protecting his brain from marijuana that I'm positive he won't remember. Apparently drug use is very common in this county. One of the kindergarten teachers mentioned that she was a witness to her 5 year old students rolling "doobies" the other day in class. Once again, I am just trying to be an observer and not judge the situation. I know there is a whole host of reasons that drug use runs rampant in these extremely poor communities.
On the upside I actually had a wonderful day with parent teacher conferences. At the risk of showing my own prejudices, I will admit that I did not expect many parents to show up. That hope was quickly shattered because I was literally in conferences from 10am until 4:30pm. The parents and students I spoke with were also surprisingly concerned about their grades. This was also another aspect of the conferences that I did not expect. There is an urgency here, because many of the parents have witnessed first hand what happens when you squander an education. There was one mother today that had to have her daughter sign her name. I now understand their fear because many of them do not understand what their children are learning, but know that the only way their children will have choice in their lives is if they are privy to a quality education. That is what it all comes down to...choice. The one thing I took away from today is that these parents love their children fiercely and wish nothing more than their success. They also mentioned that they want me to call them so they can "whoop" their kids if they get out of line. It is a great relief to know that I have so many parents standing behind me...with paddles :)

P.S. I wanted to include some more pictures, so here is a picture from the day that 2 of my students poured ethyl alcohol on a pile of salt and started a fire in the lab!


Dani Frogley said...

First of all, I'm impressed with how frequently you are updating this blog :) I get excited every time I see that you have added a new post. I love hearing about all of your adventures, and even your struggles. As hard as they must be, it's clear from talking with you and reading your posts that you are learning lots of valuable lessons from them...Which brings me to my second of all: I'm impressed with how well you are handling everything that's been thrown at you. I admire how easily you are able to find the good in even the most difficult of situations. It really is such a neat thing to see your successes manifest themselves through your posts. I've noticed the tone of your entries is progressively getting more optimistic and hopeful as time passes, and it's an incredible thing to witness. I sure am proud of you babe and I love you so much :)

Jolie said...

Well...this is my favorite post so far. I could actually visualize the dancing on the field that night, and can only imagine the smile on your face during your "Stanky Leg" :) I love the way you called the team "our team". You are clearly becoming more aware and more bonded to "your new family" in Mississippi. (Although let it be known that your "old" family misses you and your sense of humor sooo much!) Keep up the positive outlook, and know that as we witness this changing you...we know it must be having the same effect on so many others. You are our hero!

Karen Webb said...

You have to show that at our annual family Christmas talent show! I will be there with my camera rolling to see the "Stanky Leg"! Can't wait to here what happens next!