Friday, March 28, 2008

what happens when i fret

I am slightly embarrassed to admit the rollercoaster of emotions I've ridden this week regarding one 90-minute block of time. Today was the Friday Before Spring Break, and I worried about my Creative Writing class a) actually showing up and b) being more restless and fricking obstinate challenging than usual. [To be perfectly fair, there are a number of girls pleasant, attentive, hardworking girls students whom I appreciate. Plus I do love (and pray for) the irritating kids no matter how much they try my patience]. So I had to think of something good for today.

My BIG PLAN was to show a movie, because it helps keep those who do decide to attend class on this last day before break from staging a mutiny in the face of yet another prompt designed to actually make them think and write, and "work time" on a story they are convinced is Booker Prize worthy already. Step one of the BIG PLAN was to come up with a movie even remotely related to our subject matter. By the grace of God I hit upon Stand By Me - based on a Stephen King short story, narrator is the main character all grown up as a writer, plus it includes a short story within the movie (after which all the boy characters discuss what would make the ending better). BRILLIANCE!

Except that it is rated R which, considering the way most of my students speak on a minute-by-minute daily basis, should matter little, especially since it was rated in the dark ages 1986. Which is kind of like saying Gone With the Wind might be objectionable to those with sensitive ears. But our school rule is to get a permission slip signed by a parent because our students are under 18. I frantically printed 25 permission slips and handed them out yesterday as everyone was leaving for lunch. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening trying to figure out what I would really be showing because of course no one was going to bring a signed permission slip Friday morning. I had occasional rebellious thoughts of "I'm going to show this movie anyway - it is A GREAT MOVIE and is the best one to show in creative writing class. Dammit." And then I would start lamenting again because I really love my job, and it would be my luck some extraordinarily delicate student/parent would cause a stir about the number of times "F*ck" was uttered in an hour & half at school with my permission and away I would go.

Luckily, amidst my fretting I also prayed that everyone would miraculously bring signed slips and the result was - a handful of slips, and a round of phone calls to somewhat bewildered moms & dads at 10 am (my students found it supremely amusing that I ordered them to take out & use their cell phones in class). There were three kids who opted themselves out to work in the computer lab but otherwise, everyone watched. And here is the best part - my most obnoxious challenging hecklers young men made NO snarky comments the entire time. They were involved in the story; I caught an occasional smile, heard a quiet laugh here & there.

This was a blessed day. I should fret more often.