Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Put on a Happy Face

I feel bad whenever I post a blog entry while in my loss-of-joie-de-vivre mood. That's why, almost immediately after publishing last night, I started thinking about the good things I should tell you.

That in mind, let me catch you up on Making Waves at Cedar City.

I signed the papers today that allows them to make copies of the script. I also read their version of the summative blurb ("This is a "living-newspaper" style production. Think of a teacher who made an impact on you. That is the story we're telling." It's a little awkwardly worded, so we might tighten it, but I like the "living-newspaper" description.) They also need a short bio about me. (Short bio? Have you seen the verbosity of my blog entries where I try to define myself?)

When I talked to the Cedar City guy last week, he was very enthusiastic about the play. Which is very nice. They had already picked out a director for it, which means they already set the dates. I love their choice of the director - I met him a few years ago when I did their summer intensive workshop for secondary teachers. We clicked right away. In fact, he said he had heard of me (such is the fame of a junior high school drama teacher!) and that he felt that we had things do to for each other ahead of us. Except it was worded in a way that was neither creepy nor romantic-sounding, but rather a sweet theatrical-way of saying that there's a kindred spirit spark.

So while I fully supported their director-choice, it made it kind of awkward. Because part of the deal is that I go to Cedar City for a week to work with the actors and director while they're rehearsing, then sit in on the readings and post-show discussions. Which I am totally on board for doing. Except they've scheduled it on top of the first week of school at MTHS.

Duh, duh, DUH!

School next year starts on a Wednesday mid-August. Teachers come back four days in advance (although that will probably be cut to two, budget-crisis and all). I would miss the two teacher work/in-service days, plus the first three days of classes.

"Won't your principal understand? I'll talk to him, if you like. I'll explain that we're a Tony award winning Shakespeare Festival and that this is a big deal," Chuck said when he heard my silent panic over the scheduled dates.

"I just don't know if I can do it," I said, hating those words, dreading the next ones. "Let me go talk to my principal, and I'll call you back."

Do you know how scary it is for me to talk to a principal? Do you know what kind of principals I'm used to? (Meg does! Ben does! Janelle does! Kelley does!)

And before I could procrastinate the scariness/nausea, I did so right away. I went downstairs to the main office and ran right into Mike. I asked if he had a few minutes, and we stepped into his office (Heart! Starts! Beat! Ing! Oh! So! Fast!).

I told Mike about the festival's competition ("So, you know that play I wrote? That I went to Salt Lake City to see last fall? It kind of won this contest.")

He congratulated me on the win.

I explained about the whole artist-in-residence thing.

He said that's great.

I told him the dates of the show.

Without missing a beat he said, "We'll work it out."

"What?" I said. "Really? Because it's the first week of school."

"I know," he said. "But it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing, right? You've got to do it. We'll work it out. You'll get a sub, you'll set the expectations, you already know most of the kids anyway. Do it."


Here's the thing. Aside from how awesome my principal is, aside from the fact that I'm going to Cedar City in August to see our play performed, here's the other message I picked up from that:

We're planning on having you here next year.

It's been a perilous, egg-shell-walking month in our district (most districts, really). I, like most teachers, have been waiting to hear that my position is being cut. So when Chuck asked me to go tell my principal that I need to miss the first week of school next year to do a play, I was really worried that Mike would say, "Oh. I've been meaning to talk to you about that. It's not going to be a problem, you see, because...." I mean, what if they were on the fence about keeping me and this request tipped me into the cow-dung of nonrenewal?

Yes, Mike is a great principal who understands that there are bigger things going on sometimes that are worth a little hassle.

Yes, he said I could miss a week to go do those bigger things.

Yes, I get to see my play done at Cedar City.

But most of all, they're planning on having me around next year.

So who am I to complain?

P.S. The other reason they wanted the play to be in that particular slot of dates is it means it will also get the two Friday performances that follow, and they are expecting teachers to come on those days, and they are eager to get the play out to teachers.

P.P.S. I didn't get fired today for taking a sucker away from a kid (which sounds stupid when I type it, but seriously: 24-hours of gut-clenching worry about the yelling and the sucker). The kid came up to the desk I was sitting at during the passing period before class. He sat on a nearby desk and said, "So." Which I knew was his version of an apology.

"So," I replied, with a little bit of a questioning intonation.

"So," he said, in confirmation.

We talked. I asked him if he was confused about the whole no-candy-in-class thing. He wasn't. He explained that he had a really bad day yesterday. I said I understood, that my day was bad, too. I asked if he was going to have any more Dum-Dums in class. He said nope. I said, "Then we're good."

And we are.


  1. Bio haiku:

    My name's Amanda
    I really like to travel
    but sometimes I teach

  2. Love the haiku Ü

    Maybe I'll have to make a trip to Cedar in August . . .

  3. Thank you for posting something happy! I am not implying that your postings are usually less jovial, I just needed to read something happy! I am so glad things are working out the way they should (as they would in a sane universe!) and you can pat yourself on the back for making a friend really far away smile!