18,915 / 25,000
Almost 2,000 words tonight. Under the influence of Nyquil, no less. Damn head cold! It came on yesterday afternoon, announcing itself with a slightly scratchy throat before closing off my nasal passages. What I wrote may be crap. The main action of tonight’s chapter is the mother chaining the two surviving boys to a heavy table. I have a feeling I made it more complicated than it needed to be.
I still went to Western Heights’ first football game of the season. Our boys beat the El Reno Indians 12-7 after a very shaky first half. There was a pep assembly earlier in the day. They called all the new teachers down for what the assembly agenda named only as “The Peanut Butter Game.” Well, I ended up licking peanut butter off a sheet of plastic while another new teacher was licking on the other side. We didn’t win. I’m not even sure there was a prize. Hopefully only the “winners” will end up in the yearbook.
I have a slew of essays to grade over the three-day weekend. All I did today was sleep. The essays should be interesting. The juniors were elaborating on their personal narratives from last week, while the sophomores were doing a compare-and-contrast essay. Of the sophomores, there’s one girl who is pretty funny in her writing and I look forward to seeing what she wrote, although she had a lot of trouble researching her chosen topic of boys and chocolate. Another boy was comparing vampires and werewolves, which should be interesting; he thought vampires were superior, but I won’t hold that against him. Of the juniors, one of the best rough-draft essays came from a quiet girl with a quick smile who wrote about losing a friend. It’s a really good essay and I suspect she cleaned it up well. The others … little windows into their lives. Some of the things you see aren’t pretty, either. Reading a personal narrative essay can sure make you look at a problem student in a different light.
Starting Tuesday we’ll be attacking literature. My reading class is taking on The Hobbit, which isn’t a big deal as far as my teaching. Sure, I haven’t read it since about 1995 (sitting beside the giant vertical lathe that was my last stop in the machine shops), but I’ve read it several times and am familiar with it. More daunting is teaching Things Fall Apart to the sophomores. I’ve only read it once, and that was a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed it, and some scenes stand out, but a lot of the details are fuzzy, so I’ll be hitting that again this weekend. The juniors are going to read three Nathaniel Hawthorne stories in preparation for The Scarlet Letter. I remember hating that novel in high school, until about the last quarter of the book. At the time, I never would have believed I’d one day be teaching it to other kids.