Describing the Real World

Article excerpt

An educator comments on the way his students view "the real world."

I asked my students to describe the "real world."

Their real world is different than the real world of the successful. It is a world that has felt the dagger of divorce, and the agony of losing one cousin to AIDS and another to a life sentence because of murder. It is a world where parents don't even have a clue about their hopes and dreams and hobbies. It is a world of seeming to be one thing and really feeling a total set of different values. It is a world where nice people don't feel comfortable. A world where no one fully trusts anyone because they have been burned one too many times. It is a world with no light at the end of the tunnel ... yet.

Here is how my students described their world: the world of Algebra 1-A:

You might be in Algebra 1-A ... If:

1. At least nine people are absent every day.

2. When your teacher says something, all you hear is "Blah, Blah, Blah."

3. The keyboard of your computer is constantly missing keys.

4. You are trying to sleep and your friends are stealing you blind.

5. Your teacher keeps calling your house non-stop.

6. You hear so little English that it seems like a foreign language. …