The afternoon fades as clean water in the sink after many dishes. Maybe I’m the stack of clean gleaming platters in the rack, maybe I’m the remnants of the cleaning, swishing into the drain. Both perhaps. This morning a coworker said that English teachers are boring. It’s natural to rebuke a comment such as this, but in truth, we all spend a disproportionate amount of time doing things that involve no one but our pretty little selves. We shuffle words, evaluate clauses, roll out themes like a factory belt. I may be boring, I said, but my words aren’t.
I RSVPd to see a concert tonight in Palo Alto, the Geographers, but the show time turned out to be the door time, and 11pm is later than I planned on staying out. Their poppy swish was a sidebar from the main act I discovered today at in the Local Appreesh section of the Guardian. I want to see Kacey Johansing. Or rather, I’d like to sing with/like her. Ah dreams. The Geographers, while exciting, seem more Phoenix than Hey Marseilles, and I don’t know if they’re there yet. If anyone goes to the show, please comment and let me know how it went.
Today was a good day to be a teacher. No matter how long I plan my lesson, it seems to go better when I know my material, and I rearrange it in the classroom. It’s made me wonder if planning undermines creativity, or if creativity runs thickest in the present moment.
My sophomores just read “Battle of the Ants” and we did a last minute revamping of Thoreau’s Transcendental standby to make it more applicable. I took them outside. We sat in a semi-circle and passed a word-baton. This is standard protocol for the unit. But I teach at a school exploding with spirit and competition. We play sports like numbers at Vegas- no holds barred. So I put my students in groups, and asked them to come up with a play-by-play of what happened. They were sports announcers, the ants were members of football teams. The reflection may have skimmed the surface, but they got it. Sports are amazing, warfare is terrible. They connected the dots to the Civil War. With yesterday’s introduction to The Onion Newspaper, the satire made sense. It reinforced that for all the data trafficking, for all the attitude I encounter, I am lucky.
My juniors reviewed songs they’d posted on a forum with the intent of demonstrating modern day Confessional Poetry. Rhyme aside, this is the hardest thing to do. They get the linking traits of the poets we’re reading. They see the ideas in the music they shared. But to dig below the life-coach, Wednesday liturgy, I-believe-that-we-will-win is near impossible. Here I will try. Right now, this will have to suffice: