Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Go, S., go!

"Time to turn in the secession editorials!" I chirped as class started.

"Are we gonna read them?" asked S.

"If you all want." Seminar class is interesting; sometimes everyone wants the floor. Today, only S. wanted to read. And as he took the floor, it was evident why. His editorial vibrated through the room, his voice sure, his eye contact Obamaian. He opened with references to Jackson's reaction to the Nullification Crisis, wove through the Industrial Revolution, tossed in the right to revolution as defined by the Declaration of Independence, dealt with the South's lack of resources, and circled back to a "What Would Jackson Do?" ending. Oh. My.

It was soooo good that my goosebumps got chills.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I kind of would like to pretend it didn't happen, but it did.

I am used to positive connections with individuals and entire classes. But today it was clearer than ever that I haven't connected to one of them. I am bummed out.

About 15 years ago, I had an English class that had traveled together since elementary school. They were so difficult that their 6th grade promotion ceremony was cancelled. They didn't care; they were so focused on each other that school was a place to hang out together, and everything else was background noise. I'd hoped, being young and idealistic, I could reach them, fix them. Nope. I was sad, but it was impossible to take this personally since I had been hearing about this class's idiosyncrasies for over three years.

Today on the school news, I was a featured teacher. And I heard mocking voices from my class as they watched it. Wow. We weren't on the same team? This is my 2nd toughest to reach class ever--almost as hard as long ago. I had hoped against hope that maybe, maybe, we could grow that wonderful "We"-ness that a positive class has, but the smirks and mocking tones make me sigh.

It's no fun, being the odd man out in your own classroom.

Friday, April 9, 2010

historical allusion/hysterical allusion

So we are debating whether the US was justified in declaring war on Mexico in 1846*. Well, in my need to rush, I actually handed the kids pre-written arguments to read aloud. (Lame, I know, but efficiently lame. Judge all you want--the almighty CST is in less than 20 teaching days and I have to get them to the Civil War AND review 6th and 7th grade before then. I does what I gotta does.)

M. has a reputation as a convincing speaker; H. has to follow her. M. wows us, and now it's H.'s turn: "OK, H., be in earnest!" I urge.

And as H. begins his speech, he deftly slips off his shoe and pounds it รก la Khrushchev on the desk--

--and yes, he knew about Khrushchev because in our persuasive speech unit, I used Nikita to show that dramatic gestures can backfire if they aren't natural. But now I am announcing to the world that shoe pounding may just be what is missing on all those boring political talk shows--H. brought down the house!

(*I don't even try to hide my bias on this one. US actions were deplorable.)

bungalow homage

People for the Ethical Treatment of Shoes are not Nikita fans