Friday, May 9, 2008

rollercoaster week

Here is a sampling of the amusement park that is my career. (Did anyone know it was Teacher Appreciation Week, by the way? Just checking).

Monday: Returned to school after having a substitute on Friday (PTA wild weekend, remember?). Tone of the sub notes was agitated, to say the least. I had left an assignment for groups to create the "Perfect School." One looked something like this:

Sigh. So I had to have a discussion about what people tend to think of our school and how we would rather have them see us and this kind of behavior is counterproductive...blah blah blah. Oh yeah, and this was my LEADERSHIP CLASS.

Tuesday: I threw together a little activity for one class called "Find Someone" in which they had to match people in the room to statements like "Has more than 2 siblings" or "Been to a foreign country" or "Eats breakfast regularly." I expected many groans because We don't WANT to get up and walk AROUND and TALK to everyONE! (say that in a kind of exasperated whiny voice for the full effect). But. I didn't even have to tell them to move, they seemed to enjoy getting to know about each other, AND they [expectantly, excitedly] asked a different teacher later if she was going to play the same game. Wow.

Wednesday: A bunch of boys who usually gripe about every. single. fricking. thing in the universe actually joked around with me (when one finished an assignment during class and asked me to check it, I took it and drolly said "And then she fainted from shock." He didn't grimace or anything). Then they started asking very smart questions about God and I tried answering with the "Some people believe..." beginning but they really wanted to know what I think and I had to explain that I'm not allowed to go there in public school. That was a bummer because HELLO? Teenagers wanting to have a conversation?

Thursday: Started showing Good Morning, Vietnam to the Leadership class as an example of what happens when someone leads by being unconventional and contrary. Lots of dubious looks and complaints - this movie is really old, it looks dumb, I don't like Robin Williams. All my will power went to not shouting SHUT IT! (By the way, one of my more astute students remarked this week that he bets I'm going to explode someday because I'm always so calm & patient with the jackasses slightly disrespectful kids in class. I chuckled tensely). However, they were pleasantly surprised by how interesting it was and I tried not to be smug.

Friday: Those usually griping boys? Two of the four were in a particularly pissy mood, going as far as to try arguing about how all Vietnam movies are the same, and dumb. What, really? That's the best you've got for rebellion? And then. I received two posters signed by dozens of students telling me how much they like me & my classes; one of the signers is a frequent [vocal but not too mean] critic of my tendency to make a short story long - he wrote "I hope you're here to help next year's seniors." I was pretty sure he would be telling everyone to avoid my courses by any means necessary. My heart was warmed.

So apparently, yes, someone did know it was Teacher Appreciation Week. And I do feel appreciated, if also a tad emotionally drained.