[8] mile marker

My first semester of teaching is OVER! I have one thought, and one thought only: "PAR-TAY."
I've heard it said that if you get to Christmas break, you've made it. Not so sure how I feel about that. I will write a post later with insightful comments about my first semester (after I think of some), but this current post has already been predestined, so to speak. In other words, I have already concocted two topics I want to share. 1. Observations on a Shack in D. (HA! I just made that up on the spot... it works, because natives call Detroit "the D"... get it? Variations on a Canon in D? Nevermind.) and 2. Ms. Parton's Battle.

First of all... I've been curious as to the type of neighborhood in which I am teaching. After all, what environment is responsible for producing my students?! I've heard various rumors (one involving a man robbing one of our students at gunpoint...), and I'm about to contribute to the rumors through my own observations. Each day, I sit at my desk and stare out the window (the windows are usually open because for some reason, our building heat is messed up [can you imagine!] and my room turns into an oven). Across from our school there is a rather sketchy establishment - a local car wash. It is open 7am-7pm, 6 days a week, and their business is ALWAYS flowing. I mean, this is a dumpy looking place! It looks like vintage 70s car wash - complete with a HUGE smiley face on the ... garage door (one that goes up and down manually). But the strangest thing about this seedy little joint is the type of business it gets. Landrovers, BMWs, Escalades - nice cars. And the occasional cop car. And while the washing is going on, the door stays down, but when they're drying and waxing, the door comes back up. Perhaps they just don't want to divulge their sudsy secret to the general public. If you ask me, there are some fishy deals going down. But then again, what do I know? Maybe it's the most esteemed car wash in Detroit. Maybe it's the only car wash done by hand. Maybe.

2. Okay, let me explain this next masterpiece. I found a neglected notebook (I can not get away from alliterations for the life of me) yesterday. The only name I could find anywhere was "G BOY." I feel like a terrible teacher, but I do not know which of my students goes by the pseudonym "G BOY." Maybe next semester. Anyway, only 2 pages had been used, each with a mediocre rap (I won't say anything about the atrocious grammar). The first rap was about the rags-to-riches dream, and the second was about being a gangsta, although it had the line, "Shudda stayed in school homie." Well, I felt inspired and decided to write another rap for this wanna-be. I give you "Ms. Parton's Battle" (for our older audience [mom], a Rap Battle is basically a rap-off between two rappers; it is supposed to be free style and in response to each rapper's taunts).

If you've got dreams, go on n' chase 'em
Don't let anyone take 'em n' erase 'em.
"Stay in school" - words from your mouth
Here I'm tryin' to show you what education's about!
Ya got rhymes? Ya got beats?
I got books. I got seats.
So grab one and sit tight -
I'll teach ya how to write right.
When you get out, diploma in hand
You show all these haters who's the man.
Money ain't life, but it don't hurt to have some,
But without a degree, boy, you'll never nab some.
Words are power - you know it 'cuz you're writing,
But words aren't written when your focus is fighting.
You're here in school - this is your chance!
Put your mind to it and make your brain dance!
You've got talent and you've got a dream;
You kow life is more than it might seem.
So get your head on straight and clean up your act.
Hustlin' takes you no where - that's a fact.
Leave the drugs behind - they'll do you no good.
If you get caught - it's the clink! Stuck in this hood.
I'm tryin' to tell you - use your brain and your heart.
Keep coming to class - that's a start!
I'm begging you - reach for a higher level!
All this other stuff is straight from the devil.
When the world gets you down, says you aren't worth it,
Brush that off your shoulder - you don't deserve it.
See, rhymin' is tight - I could do it for dough,
I got the knowledge behind me, and my words just flow.
I did my time at the university -
Worked real hard for that Bachelor's degree.
Now I'm tryin' to show you there's more to life-y
Than money, cars, drugs and a fine lookin' wifey.
How do I reach you and let you know I care?
All these students hate me, just 'cuz I'm there.
Well, I've said my piece - time to abort.
Heads up! Ball's in your court.

... Maybe I am in the wrong profession! Clearly, I have a gift.


  1. OH!!!
    Rachel, that was AWESOME. You should read that to your class. They would LOVE it!! All I can say is:

    'Sup lil sis, yo rhymin is tight.
    dat is fo sur. dat is dang right.
    dez kidz best no lie bout dis fly teacha,
    cuz she knows it straight, like a true preacha.

  2. I hear you about the PAR-TAY! It is a milestone when you make it to Christmas Break! A milestone it is indeed.

    As for the rap, did you really just make that up off of the top of your head? If so... you rock! I wonder what they kids (at school) would say?