April blizzard


Okay, maybe it isn’t a blizzard, but we do have a chance of snow this weekend. Snow! In April! It’s mighty cold out right now, the wind is howling and it’s alternating between hard rain and a steady mist. Nasty stuff! Maybe one last freeze will kill some of the brown dog ticks we’re already having trouble with, though.

Gayleen pointed out I hadn’t posted a blog in almost a week. I’m not gonna whine and air all my inner feelings online, so I’ll simply say I was feeling down about the whole writing business following another rejection. Marcy will accuse me of playing number games, but I was thinking of how I’ve been writing for over 20 years with nothing to show for it but a few virtually unnoticed books from two-bit small presses that won’t pay up, won’t answer e-mail, etc.

Yeah, I’ve done a little more than that, but the big goal is still out of reach and on some days it just looks completely unattainable. But I’m doing better now, and I attribute a lot of that to my kids, who keep me too busy to wallow in self pity. So let’s move on.

It was an interesting week at school. I began taking my Non-fiction class to the Academy’s computer lab. Will the computers work or will they not? It’s a crap shoot. Considering that squeezing one draft of an essay out of kids is hard enough, it’s really hard to teach them the value of revision if they have to rewrite the essay in longhand every time. I guess we need to apply for one of Bill Gates’ technology grants.

We’re reading Paul Zindel’s young adult novel The Pigman in my Foundations of English I class. I enjoyed the book. It reminded me of the books I read in junior high, books like The Pushcart War and Watership Down. The kids don’t like it. They say it’s boring. Or gay. Usually gay. I made the mistake of asking how a book could be homosexual and was given a demonstration of literary humping. Yeah. Ninth graders. Somebody has to love them.

In Science Fiction we’re doing The War of the Worlds. (Yes, I know, but this is a new class, so I’m reading it yet again.) The kids wanted the audio, so I’m playing those horrid CDs again. I really think the CDs are so bad they inhibit the reading, but they’re totally against silent reading. I’m looking forward to finishing TWotW and moving on to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Man, I haven’t read that in years and years … not since before the Internet became popular. It’s going to be fun revisiting that one.

Prom is next Saturday. I’m not required to go, but it’s “suggested” I show up for at least a little while so I guess I will. I don’t really have very many students who are juniors or seniors, though, so it’s not like I’m going to know many of them.

Well, I reckon that’s enough rambling for one evening.

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6 thoughts on “April blizzard

  1. Sorry that the pubs still aren’t paying up! That’s a major pain in the butt!
    One of the worst things about teaching English is that you can’t find anything that they’ll all like. Period. Never.
    An idea, if you have some time. I took the courtroom scenes from To Kill A Mockingbird, and the kids acted them out. Nothing like seeing a six-foot African-American guy in a frilly white hat portraying Mayella Ewell. (OK, this didn’t get them all, but a few seemed to enjoy the acting part.) I should think you might be able to get hold of the Radio script for WOTW and could do some interesting discussion about that….maybe….maybe not.
    (Ninth graders ARE better than 7th graders, take my word for it)

    • Oh, 7th graders are bad. I had a lot of them when I subbed last semester.
      I thought at least the girls would like The Pigman, and one or two who have actually read it have said they liked it. This is a remedial class of kids who didn’t pass English I last semester; they read Mockingbird last semester, so I’m not making them read it. (They actually thought he book was racist.)
      Last block I made the mistake of doing a court trial based on “The Most Dangerous Game.” We put on Rainsford on trial. It was a debacle. The only questions the “lawyers” wanted to ask was whether the witnesses had engaged in gay sex. I finally had to tell them that if they mentioned the word “gay” again I’d write them up for hate crimes and have them suspended.

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