Sunday, October 28, 2012

Students, Students Everywhere

I knew this week was a collision of schedules that would be a beast to survive, but by golly I did!  Between the Advanced Drama play Thursday night and Friday morning, the dress rehearsals and usual pre-show prep, the snowstorm that hit Thursday (because of course), an overnight speech meet in Gunnison, and a lesson to teach in Relief Society today, I am exhausted!

The good news is that it all went pretty smoothly and pretty well.  The shows were fine.  The audiences enjoyed them and the kids were pleased with themselves.  We'll do a post-mortem tomorrow that might be a little tricky to navigate - I want to let them celebrate what they did pull together but also make sure they recognize the issues with their lack of preparation/memorization.  I'm glad they're happy, though, and I'm glad to leave that show behind.

The snowstorm caused a bit of stress for the play, but I was pleased to see it pass before our trip to Gunnison.  There's a few perilous mountain passes between MTHS and there, but we had clear roads and sunny skies.  The hotel was hosting two other schools in town for the meet, which couldn't have been great for the other guests.  I kept my kids contained downstairs either swimming in the hotel pool or practicing their pieces in the conference room until bedtime to try to be as little as bother as possible.

Two of my former speechers/drama/New York kids are going to college in Gunnison, and they both stopped by Friday night to help coach the team.  It was fun to catch up with them, and they really helped out the kids.  They might be telling the students the exact same notes as I do, but when I can point to them and say, "These two are State Champions in these events," the students suddenly listen.

Karen and I herded the team upstairs and taped them in, and I stumbled to a questionably clean but most-welcomed bed around 10:00.  Then, just as I turned out the lights, I heard a loud screaming, followed by the sound of a chainsaw, then a man calling for help.  I switched the light back on and went to the window.  There, next door to the hotel, was an outdoor haunted house in full swing.

"You've got to be kidding me," I said out loud.  I stood there watching the patrons go through the maze of scenes for a while, then headed back to bed.  I thought about donning earplugs, but I needed to get up by 5:30 to wake up the team on time and I was already uncertain about my ability to hear the alarm in my exhausted state.  So I laid there listening to the pattern of noises repeating over and over until the haunted house shut down for the night.

The next morning we were up bright and early, with the exception of one room of girls who were apparently up until 3:30 AM.  It took a few rounds of knocking before one of them groggily opened the door to squint out at me with a pitch-black and quiet room behind her.  "They're still sleeping," she whispered.

I reached inside and flipped on the light switch.  "Morning ladies!" I called into the room over the groans.  "Breakfast is downstairs; bus leaves in an hour!"

They told me later that they were up late texting with the boys next door.  While this means I need to do some discipline stuff (part of their behavior contract specifies no calling/texting after 10 PM), I do have to admire the boys next door.  No grogginess or sleeping late for them - when Karen and I knocked on their door, we heard the tinny sound of "Whopum Gangnam style!" from an iPhone speaker as they flung open the door to reveal all four of them. fully dressed in suits and ties, dancing the Gangnam dance for our benefit.

That dance is all the rage for my kids.  One of them, Ben, had the idea of putting it into our class play for the part that called for a "funky dance beat".  Ben and I taught ourselves the dance, then taught it to the rest of the cast.  It was the hit of the show - the audience went nuts when Ben's character launched into it, but then when the entire cast joined him, the audience whooped and hollered and cheered.  This led to many renditions of it on the bus ride to Gunnison as well as a reprise of the dance in the middle of the cafeteria at the speech meet.

Eighteen of the 19 competitors I brought down came back with at least one award, which is pretty dandy for a group largely comprised of underclassmen competing for the first time (I make it a requirement for the speech class, so a lot of them had never been to a meet before this).  The kids were well behaved, we joked around a lot, and everyone generally had a good time.

We pulled into the MTHS parking lot a little before 9 PM Saturday night.  I had to hang out for about a half hour waiting for parents to pick up their kids, but then I loaded my bags into my car and gladly made my way down the mountain towards home, an angry cat, and most importantly, bed.  When I started to feel drowsy, I stopped off at the Sonic that's halfway home to get something to drink to keep me awake.

"Hey, Ms. Waterhouse!" the server said when he brought me out the drink.  He's a senior at my school, a kid who worked tech for one of the musicals a few years ago and who is currently dating one of my most involved speech/drama kids.

"Hi, Tyler," I replied.  It caught me off guard.  It is the closest drive-through to my school, but it is also 18 miles away from it, so I don't usually run into students there.  It's already been a student-filled week, though, so why not one or two more?

"Have a good night!" he said as he gave me my change.  "Also, Jacob says hello!"  I looked inside and saw another one of my students waving at me.  I waved back, then drove away.

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