Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No way!

Because I get to know them so well over time, it's easy to forget that some of my students happen to come from fairly wealthy backgrounds. Growing up in Springfield, MA and attending UMass, I've encountered for the most part individuals who have shared my own working/middle class background. Whereas while teaching at EHS, I've had parent conferences where I'll meet the guy who founded Staples at 10 AM and then 20 minutes later, I'm talking to one of the co-owners of the Chicago Cubs. Now, that's hardly the case with all of the students here. Just as often, we have kids who come from cities or towns where their needs can't be met in their respective school system so their district will pay for all or part of their tuition to send them here. Nonetheless, however a student is enrolled here, the fact remains that we are one of the most expensive private schools in the country (easily Top 5 every year I've been here). Now, as I mentioned, you get into your daily routine, get to know your students and this reality means very little day-to-day. And the kids themselves at EHS never make an issue of it, at least not that I've ever seen- it's not like the kids who grew up in mansions would not be friends with a kid who's coming from Alaska where the state is paying their tuition. They have their cliques and such like any high school but socioeconomic background has never played a role in the social hierarchy that I've seen.

However, once in a while, there are days like today when I was going over the idea of irony with my classes, with one of my examples being this famous picture of George Harrison:


Good example, right? George is being quite cheekily ironic with his choice of shirt. Anyway, in my 1st period class, after seeing this, one girl matter-of-factly mentioned that her mom used to live in the Dakota building in NYC in the 1970s with John Lennon as her neighbor. Now, despite the recent marketing blitz, The Beatles don't quite have the impact on this generation of high school students as it did on mine so her classmates were rather non-plussed as well.

So you can imagine how floored I was when I shared the example later on with my 3rd period class only to have another girl pipe up with, "Oh, Paul McCartney has a house right next door to ours in the Hamptons."

No comments: