Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Let's Have Lunch

Missed Lunch

That's the lunch I didn't eat today. Getting things ready for class, grading papers, filling out intervention forms, and taking care of things for the speech meet this weekend sucked up all of my "free" time.

Despite that, today wasn't a bad day. I'm feeling a little lost in my English class - there's no focus, no project right now, and I don't like that. Drama went better - we went to the stage to run scenes and my two problem kids weren't there (one was absent, the other I escorted to the office at the beginning of the class when he refused to hand over the iPod I tell him every day to put away and he mouthed off to me).

The kids are all tired, though. I am too, for that matter. We really should have a fall break right about now - I think everyone needs it to decompress and catch up.

I was tired of my room being messy (they cut back the custodial staff this year for budget reasons, like schools are doing everywhere, so it tends to be a few days between cleanings), so I held elections for a Room Czar in my speech class. I took nominations formally, each candidate gave a 1-minute speech, then campaigned for votes for 2 minutes, then we voted by ballots and I marked their fingers with ink as they turned in their votes (we're multi-national!).

Two great speech veterans won; and after the class had some time to work on their midterm performances, we did some meditation. When I proposed it, everyone agreed it was very much needed this week. When I released the class, I pointed out that there were some scraps of papers on the floor and chairs unstacked. My Room Czars sprang into action: "Everyone! Stack your chair! Look to your left! If there's a chair there, stack that one too! No one leaves without picking up 5 pieces of paper!"

Within seconds, my room was clean.


After school, I worked with three different students on their speech pieces - one was girl writing an Original Oratory (OO) on James I, then one of my drama class Juliets/Mercutios doing a humorous interp, and then a speecher doing a creepily seductive interp narrated by a serpent.

I'm settling into coaching, and I love being able to work one-on-one with students like this. I start off each session by asking them how they want me to help them. They're starting to get used to that question, and they're getting better at answering it. I'm using a lot of my teacher-director instincts, too. The OO session was mostly about writing a paper - she had a good outline, but didn't really know how to tie it all together. After she told me that she's been delivering her speech by speaking through the outline, I told her about the times when I would get stuck while writing papers for school, and my mom would offer to transcribe them for me while I dictated. It went so much faster, and it allowed me to focus on the ideas and the flow, rather than getting stuck in typing and conventions. (I don't know if I've thanked you for that enough, Mom. You were so generous to give me that kind of time when I needed it!) She's going to try getting a transcriber so she can talk, in addition to other work.

The humorous interp is already very good, so I got to focus on smaller, more intellectual things with HI Girl - talking about the switch in the narrative from third person to first, for example. I'm loving (LOVING) working with kids who are so smart. It's different for me - something I still stumble over at times when things aren't going right and I figure out that I'm going too slow for them, that I'm not pushing them enough.

I helped one of my student coaches work with Serpent Girl yesterday afternoon (the coach was a senior last year - Rachel, if you remember, she played the Baroness in the rehearsal we saw. She's a great speecher, but she tends to give suggestions for things that work for her, and she coaches in the "no, just copy what I do" method). I figured out pretty quickly that SG just needed to talk through her ideas. I was stuggling to stop yawning (it was 4, and my blood sugar was totally out of whack by then), but I also enjoyed doing that because I've been in that stage of the creative process - where what helps me most is just to talk to someone about all of the ideas swirling in my head, to verbalize those thoughts in order to process them and get some order cemented.

At one point, I noticed two of my male speechers pouring over one of the volumes of my OED with it's magnifying glass. I was thrilled - they were using the OED! Without prompting! And we're not even doing the Dictionary Game!

Then I heard what they were saying. Apparently, there had been some discussion about the difference between fellatio and fornication earlier in the day, and they wanted to resolve the issue. Except they couldn't figure out how to spell it ("Is it FE-llatio or FA-llatio? Or maybe FI?"). Ah, the paradox of the dictionary. When they couldn't find it there, one of them asked if they could use my computer to look it up. I suggested that it might not be the best thing to have in my search history on my work computer.

I'm enjoying high school and speech. I had a meeting in the middle school yesterday, and as I walked through the halls I found myself a little sad that I wasn't there anymore - I miss middle school more often than I thought I would. I did love middle school for a lot of reasons, but it was time to move on.

Oh, and? They're predicting snow all day tomorrow, and all weekend. If you see photos of a snow-banked school bus full of teenagers in blue hoodies on the news, you'll hear about it on my blog.

P.S. I'm going to have to go to New York next year to see this. Care to join me?


  1. When is the addams family thing?

    I'm very interested.

  2. Nathan Lane, Bebe Neuwirth, could it get any better?! When?!