I'm in a puddle of Chinese take-out and feeling like the pasha of comfortably sinking SINKitude, smothered in greasy mushrooms and body butter and imperfect but manageable bills.
How was the first day of school, Shari?
Well, you know me. It's hard not to run around excited to see last year's kids. I don't get the teachers who don't get wrapped up in that. It's hard to do the "don't smile before Thanksgiving" routine when you're looking at the new kids that you're going to be so delighted to see come back next year. But that's about a hundred tests, arguments, discipline referrals, parent/teacher conferences, threats, gripes, and "shut up and colour"s away.
Lots of friendly faces, then?
Oh yes. Our school has initiated some neat new programs to foster the sense of community, but I wish we'd had more visiting time today. Yeah, I know I'm there to teach grammar and literary analysis and plenty of other "power standards", but our student body really benefits from being a sort of family, so I wish we'd had more time, perhaps between classes, to mingle.
Or maybe just know our rosters in advance so we could all trade notes. Last night I got my prelim rosters and couldn't help but email some teachers to gush: "oh, you have so-and-so, they're a great group leader!" and so on. This mostly led to the "wow, you clearly, uh, care" response, so perhaps it's a good thing that I didn't reveal my (aborted) plan to look up this year's students in last year's yearbook so I could learn names even faster.
(I'm not saying the other teachers don't care. They care a lot. Just not enough to excitedly write emails to each other when it could wait until morning in the workroom.)
And then there were so many faces I realized were missing - the ones who graduated, the few who've passed away. (I don't think I ever published the post about my absolutely brilliant/lovely student who overdosed this summer.) I don't think the kids realize how great it is when they come back and say hi, even the ones who barely blipped on the radar when they were there.
Or maybe I'm just a goofball. Quite possible.
How do the new students seem?
Total mixed bag. I'm grateful that my sophomores have all come from rigorous freshman classes. (Despite my wigging out last night over all the failures.) My freshmen are all honors students, so that's a little mercy, classroom management-wise. I'll probably always suck at classroom management. I was talking to a fellow teacher who's from Russia and she misses just being able to teach and not deal with behaviour problems and disrespect (however unintentional).
In regard to my own flawed classroom management style, I think I'll start the year by teaching the kids the concept of "passive aggressive."
Is it true you're going to run an after-school Cr**t*v* Wr*t*ng club?
Looks like it. Ideas? Other than sharing work, watching "inspirational but entertaining" movies, playing some sensory games, doing poetry readings, etc?
Is it true you and two co-workers missed an in-service session because you had a two-hour lunch at Terrible Herbst's casino?
Lies! But I do recommend the chocolate/cinnamon tacos with ice cream and fresh fruit and caramel.
Shouldn't you IM Kristy?
God yes. Sorry, Kristy, if you see this. When are we going to be rich enough to take that cruise?
Good moments foreshadowing a shiny new year?
I developed a cool new lesson plan format and people are going nuts adopting it, thanks to one of my neat-o co-workers who made everyone come check it out when I was finishing it. Some people in another department surprised me by presenting it at the school-wide staff meeting, even.
And then there are the two former students offering to help as unofficial aides - quite a boon since I don't have an aide yet (and probably won't get one). The photocopying alone...
And, much as I loved CW and M*d Literature, it's kind of a relief to return solely to the structure of "traditional" English classes. Now I have textbooks, transparencies, workbooks - plenty to pull from and creatively elaborate upon rather than cook from scratch. Oh, let's face it, it's great knowing that I can just follow the textbook manufacturer's "lesson plan" for the day if I feel stuck/sick/uninspired/of need of a break from bounciness.
Are you going back tomorrow?
That feels weird. I hugged everybody. I warmly welcomed the new kids. I pep talked the freshmen into starting a powerful high school career. Now we have to stop the party to work? Huh?
Well, maybe you'll have a heart attack first and end on this high note.
Nah, not if I hint at concern over nausea, edema, tingling, numbness, aches, etc. in my blog first. That would be too prescient. And if I mention that I almost detoured on the way home to hit the clinic, that would be pure drama and come of nothing. See, crisis averted.
(But as I sit here smacking the feeling back into my hand, perhaps at least thinking about an appointment wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I've even been thinking about getting my first mammogram! They're free on screening days.)
What's this song you're listening to?
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" - John Denver. It makes me think of going up and down over backwood Michigan hills in my dad's blue Ramcharger, punching the buttons on the 8-track.
Whatcha reading before conking out tonight?
A dazzling co-worker lent me some modern Egyptian literature (along with a discussion on trends on Egyptian fiction, and no, she's not Egyptian whatsoever, just amazing), but I'm lolling in Stephanie Plum's world for now. (She even has a hamster! Thanks Chris!)
(Typing this reminded me of an ancient Ellen DeGeneres routine. I don't remember exactly how it goes, but she'd ask the audience if they ever, you know, did the whole dance-around-the-house-like-Tom-Cruise thing when they were younger, playing rock star, locking the front door and really belting it out to an amused audience of household pets. As the audience laughed in recognition she'd keep going with describing this, then add, "and then afterwards sitting down for a few hours and pretending to give the Rolling Stone interview, right?" I don't know if it's funnier because she went too far or because maybe she didn't.)
31 August 2006 | Permalink