because i have to be up for class in four hours what was i thinking

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LIMEHOUSE: How you been, li'l sista?
RACHEL: You callin’ me l'il sista like you puttin’ me in my place.
LIMEHOUSE: Well, what else am I supposed to call you?  You got your gun on, all big and bad; all I see is a little old Aunt Jemima takin’ orders from the man.

Today, a summary.

A message to the American school system

I’m sitting in class, watching my health course teacher pace back and forth explaining the importance of taking care of ourselves.

“You have to eat healthy, exercise, and get eight hours of sleep a day.” I see everyone else in the room watching silently. No interest, no connection. Probably because everyone in the class was already too sleep deprived to even pay attention to the lesson about sleep deprivation.

And why do you think that is? 

I’m looking at my daily planner and scanning the dozens of marks on every class for each night telling me when projects and assignments are due. It’s an extremely rare day when I don’t have homework in just one class, and then it’s usually just because there’s a test coming up.

I had six tests this week, four on the same day. I had three projects due. My health teacher is lecturing us on sleep, when the workload he and all of the other teachers give us is what’s preventing us from doing so.

I have a life, I have a job, I have responsibilities. I don’t have free time anymore. 

I work four to five days a week, and 13 hours on the weekends. I’m running on five hours of sleep a night because I’m too overloaded with work as well as school work. I work up to or over 30 hours a month total.

Later I told my history teacher about how many tests I had that week.

“Really? Oh gosh, I had no idea, I’m so sorry for giving you another one.” He had no idea. None of the teachers collaborate or discuss with one another to see what everyone is up to. They have no coordination, no planning.

I’m in math class and my teacher is yelling at us and telling us how lazy we are, how we can’t stay awake, and how we should have checked her class calendar online to know there was homework that she didn’t even tell us about. She doesn’t consider the people that don’t have internet access at home. She hustles in a class of freshman, points at us, and says to them, “Remember these kids. They’re who you don’t want to turn out to be.”

I remember freshman year when one of my teachers graded my papers unfairly, and gave extra credit options to everyone else but me, and also told me that I shouldn’t even be in the class because I wasn’t smart enough. I took it to the office. They didn’t do a thing.

I remember when I was twelve years old in the fifth grade, and how my teacher would take me out into the hallway everyday and tell me how useless I was, and how I was never going to make it anywhere in life. She was never punished.

I’m a junior in high school now, and I can hardly keep my eyelids open because I’m so overloaded with work an exhaustion, and I’m being told I’m lazy because of it. 

And I sit there and think about how much worse other people have it.

And that’s when I’m truly not surprised about the high school dropout rate, because the school system is the very thing that pushed us out in the first place.