Sunday, October 02, 2011

A Week of Drama

Last night was the Homecoming Dance.  It's held in our school cafeteria which sounds lame until you see our school's cafeteria.  It's pretty sweet, what with the giant stone fireplace, pinewood beams, and the floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the forest, mountains, and stream.

I was put in charge of the pictures.  Since we only had five couples get their pictures taken, that meant I had a really slow night (as you saw from my bored blogging).  The special ed teacher was assigned to the task with me and we passed the time chatting about students, her pregnancy, and flipping through the stack of bridal magazines she pulled from her purse.

Since each teacher is required to chaperone one of the three annual formal dances, I actually don't mind the Homecoming job since 1) I get my chaperoning duties out of the way early in the year and 2) I get to see a lot more of my kids (i.e. freshmen as well as recent-graduates-who-are-still-dating-high-schoolers).

Per tradition, we also had a pep rally Friday afternoon.  These are not the most exciting affairs - usually it's a 1/2 hour spiel where the band plays a song, the fall teams are all called up to introduce themselves with no ceremony whatsoever, and some sort of game is played.  They always make me miss the fun assemblies we put in at DPJH (especially the haka!).

The game this year was dodgeball.  In groups of six the classes sparred off against each other two at a time (freshmen v. sophomores, juniors v. seniors), then the winners (sophomores v. juniors) played against each other.  When the sophomores won that round the student council adviser announced that they would get to play a bonus round against the teachers.

She had asked me if I would play before the assembly started.  I told her I would only if she was desperate for teachers.  While it wouldn't be the first time I've revisited my P.E. days for the sake of the children, I am definitely not any better at nor have any fondness for such things than the last time I played dodgeball back in... middle school?  Elementary school?  I don't even remember.

When the teacher team took their places, though, they were indeed short one teacher.  The adviser looked my way and, sighing, I took off my keys and sunglasses and crossed the gym in front of the bleachers.  As I did, all of my students cheered and started chanting my name.

Have you ever heard a couple hundred people chant your name and cheer?  It's pretty awesome, no matter what demons you're going to face.

Fortified by that, I took my place in line with my colleagues, facing the sophomores who were both grinning and growling at the prospect of hurling medium-sized balls at their teachers.  The class president called, "On your mark, get set, GO!" and everyone raced to the line of balls in the middle.

Everyone except me, that is.  My strategy, carefully concocted, was to stay behind the other teachers and not touch the balls.  The plan worked well up until most of the other teachers were knocked out of the game.  Down to just me and the gym teacher, I tried to help for a while by collecting the balls that missed us and handing them to the gym teacher to throw while dodging the ones begin thrown at my head.  Ultimately, I had to defend our honor by throwing a ball myself, which a sophomore promptly caught thus eliminating me from the game.  The sophomores won, much to their (and all of the student body's) delight.  And thus ends my dodgeball career for time and all eternity.  I hope.

In other types of drama, I took my Advanced Drama class on a field trip this week.  We missed the entire day of school on Thursday in order to visit the Denver Center Theater Company.  We arrived just in time for our scheduled acting workshop (but not in time to visit Starbucks, much to my students' disappointment), then saw a matinee of The Liar.  I gave them 20 minutes to grab a quick lunch on the 16th Street Mall (they all went to Goodtimes, I went to a deli) before we got a backstage tour of the workshops and techwork that goes on at DCTC. 

The kids loved it all and were perfectly polite and intelligent-sounding.  I had given them a crash-course the day before on 17th century France, Aristotle's Poetics, and the Holy Trinity of French playwrights (Moliere, Racine, and Corneille).  I drilled them on the information again on our bus ride down, and when the actor leading the workshop mentioned that he was "excited to see this new production of Corn... Corn... Cornelly-"

"Corneille," my students said simultaneously in the French accent I had made them practice.

"Nice," the actor said.  My students smiled, pleased with themselves and their smarts.

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