Oh, man. The last two days all of the teachers at MTHS have been dragging - it's just cruel to make the two 14-hour days on Tuesday and Wednesday instead of Wednesday and Thursday!
PLUS! My principal did my formal observation first period on Thursday, so I had that spike in stress (caused mostly by my previous observations. Not the ones at DPJH where, more often than not, the principal would forget to do them and would instead call us into his office right before the paperworks was due and ask, "So, what are some goals you had this year? Mmm hmm." (scribble scribble) "And how did you do at those goals?" (scribble) "And tell me about a lesson of yours that you think went well?" No, those don't cause stress. It was the observations at STMS. The ones the faculty called 'Drive-by Shootings'. So I get a little PTSD whenever I see an administrator in my room.) (Longest parenthetical to date? Perhaps!). That, plus all kinds of fun with the whole speech team debacle that is still leaving me in a pickle. But, again, I don't want to write about that.
Today, though, was a strange day - it was the school's annual day of service. As a memorial, the school dedicates this day each year to service projects, which I think is rather a nifty idea. There were four or five different projects for the students to sign up for, and they rotated during the day. My first assignment was to supervise cleaning the highway. We donned blue gloves, orange vests, and headed out with bags in tow:
(Picture of students in said outfits)
Now, bear in mind that it's been snowing up here all week. Today the weather was turning, but it was still quite chilly. Unlike the teenagers, I had bundled up:
(Like the teenagers, however, I sported my iPod headphones in one ear. If I was really cool, I would have run the cord through my shirt to hide it). I wound up loaning my students my gloves and scarf when their fingers turned bright red.
Before trekking down to the highway, the other supervising teachers and I ran down the list of things they shouldn't try to pick up - broken glass, syringes, knives, guns, drugs, wads of unmarked bills, bodies and/or parts of bodies (okay, I contributed the last three to the list. I was in a jovial mood this morning).
My warnings were well advised, though! Not ten minutes into our walk up the freeway, we discovered a body lying among the weeds:
It was totally something out of Law & Bones: Miami. Bom-Bomp!
We also discovered a dead fish, a dead bird, and a soda bottle full of pee. Service is fun!
Actually, it was. Our assignment was to walk up the road until we hit "a purple sign". Two miles away from the school, the kids started to whine about how far we'd gone. "Where's the sign?" they asked me, pleadingly.
"The sign is a lie," I replied.
"Ha! Like the cake!" yelled one kid, which made me immensely happy that he got the reference. Especially since no one there understood why I kept saying "Two by two, hands of blue!" in a creepy voice. I'm working hard to cultivate my reputation as maybe crazy, maybe just weird, drama teacher.
We walked a little over 4 miles total, filled several bags with trash, and admired the loveliness of the leaves up there as the sun rose.
Plus, I discovered there's a lake on the other side of the football field!
Who knew? (Aside from everyone who's ever driven past the school. Unlike me. 'Cause why would I do a silly thing like that?)
The students started out way more excited than I expected. They raced for each piece of trash, competed to be the first to fill their bags, and seemed genuinely into doing this kind of service.
An hour into it, though, their interest was waning. And what to teenagers do when bored?
(Picture of boys pulling used blue glove over his head and inflating it through his nose)
(And what do their teacher-supervisors do when they pull used gloves over their faces? Take pictures with their cell phones, of course!)
Next up, after lunch, I checked out the other service projects inside: letter-writing to troops, knitting scarves, stuffing envelopes for a charity, and such. I brought home the beginnings of a scarf to finish this weekend for them, and headed outside again to check out the major project of the day: Habitat for Humanity. On the way, I passed a group of freshmen cleaning out the pond:
(Picture of freshmen scraping algae out of decorative pond)
The Habitat project was only for kids 16+, but there were still enough volunteers to make three shifts of students. I was supposed to help, but they had tons of volunteers, so I mostly took pictures, helped to hoist up a few walls onto a truck, and made fun of my speech students.
They're fun to tease, 'cause they play along. Like so:
(Picture of one student posing in a goofy way with a nail while second student pretends to attack him from behind with a hammer)
Oh! I also totally averted tragedy for our football team by finding this:
thereby saving them from certain tetanus and then death. I helped!
Those kids framed a two-story duplex in just a few hours, not to mention all of the others projects accomplished. I'm exhausted, but it was a good day for everyone, I think.
Except, perhaps, that poor deer.
Now I'm off to bed and I'm not going to wake up until I'm ready to! Yay! (Crazy-Kermit-like arm waving ensues.) (But only in my head, 'cause I'm too tired to actually move like a Muppet).