Friday, May 24, 2013

Teaching My Favorite

Loving a book is one thing; teaching it to a class--in late May-- is another. My man Abe Lincoln said you can't please all of the people all of the time, but something in me needs everyone to like, nay, love this book. I first taught To Kill a Mockingbird to the first 9th grade English class I ever had, exactly three days after I'd read it for the first time--I loved it so much I HAD to share it with kids, right away. Trouble is, if a kid doesn't like this book, I am mortally wounded and darkly conclude the child has no soul. Fast forward a billion years and I love the book even more, so am even more crushed and devastated if anyone rejects my favorite.

Mr. B., the math teacher, told me the kids were buzzing about the book, really enjoying it, pursuing conversations about it outside my classroom. YESSSSS! Perhaps it is inevitable--one of my kiddos' middle name is (really and truly) "Atticus."

And imagine my elation when JB., upon entering my bungalow this morning and seeing the weekend's homework was to read three chapters, voiced, "YESSSSS!" with a huge smile on his face.

"JB., you're not mad you have some homework over the weekend?"


And yes, he said it in all capital letters; my heart heard his correctly.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Teachers: WE ARE OK

Our school is launching a little aid raiser for the Red Cross in honor of the victims of the Moore, OK tornado. Our goal is to raise $1000, a dollar per student.

One teacher ordered "We are OK" wristbands online to give to donors.
Two are manning the collection table during their lunch.
One is housing the funds during our drive.
One wrote the bulletin announcement.
One is doing an "all call" to the parents.
One will manage the transfer of funds to the organization.

I kind of wish students were driving this drive.

(As I was sharing our drive with an advisory class, a student asked, "When did this happen?" Hmmm.)

And as this school year zooms toward its end, I reflect on the two real lock downs our neighborhood schools had--the teachers were champions. I reflect on the teachers at Sandy Hook and Plaza Towers and Briarwood--the teachers were heroes. I reflect on Q, tutored after school by my student teacher, who is going to pass now--my student teacher is a champion. I reflect on the teachers' hearts prompting this drive--they want to help the hurting so badly. 

Hmmmmm.............................maybe teacher-bashing can end for a season, m'kay?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Gettysburg Address, R. Kelly, and the Custodian

It's that memorize-the-Gettysburg-Address-and-get-two-points-of-extra-credit-for-every-line time of year!

Two students came by after class to make the attempt, one a Gettysburger (memorizing the full speech) and the other nailing down four lines before being stumped by, "It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this," despite the imaginative visual clues given by the Gettysburger and me (in a failed attempt to prompt the word "altogether," we even grabbed hands and sang, "Kumbaya.").

They stayed awhile, chatting about my offer to skip the final if they earned 103% in the course. One asked, "Do you think I can?" And I launched into my loud and horrific take on R.Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly." Fortunately I only know four lines so their ears weren't bleeding yet.

The night custodian, J, popped in to empty trash.

"Can you sing?" I asked.

 "A little," said J.

"Sing 'I Believe I Can Fly,'" I challenged.

And he did. The three of us stood there, stunned, chins on the floor, ears all happy and tingly as J's voice easily hit all the actual notes of the song which I had merely approximated. Our custodian can SANG. He happens to have been born with just one hand, so it's even cooler to say, "Our one-handed custodian can SANG." Anyway, just another day at the office.

I love my job.

Can You Sing?

I ask a question--
our chins drop as you sing out
an affirmative