It was mostly a good day at school. Yeah, I have to write two referrals — one for the girl who couldn’t keep the bird to herself while my sub was there on Friday, and one for the guy who was throwing a tennis ball at my severed head while I was on hall duty this afternoon. And I had to chew some AP butt over missing work. But overall it was still a good day. Why? I’ll tell ya.
First, I finally, finally, finally found an activity that got my English IV class involved in the literary analysis essay they have to do. What I did was to write an essay myself yesterday, label each paragraph, chop it up, then make them put it back together. Sadly, only a few of the pairs were able to do it correctly, but pretty much everyone got involved in working on it, and that’s enough of a success for me. Each student has been assigned a period of British literary history. They have to write an essay that analizes one work written in that period, talk about how it is an example of the period, and provide some biographical info on the author. I wrote an essay about Jack London and American naturalism. Tomorrow they’ll see that essay all put back together and we’ll talk about why each paragraph is where it is and how they’re constructed. And about formatting, MLA citations, etc.
The other good thing was a student hug. These aren’t so rare, but when they come from a kid who recently lost her dad, has been raped in a state juvenile shelter, already kicked a meth habit and been beaten up by her boyfriend, it means more. I saw her at her locker and she didn’t look right. Last time she looked like that she broke down crying about her dad, so I asked what was wrong. This time it was just a headache, so I explained how she could "steal" some ibuprofen from my desk. Later, she was obviously feeling better, stopped me for a hug in the hall and thanked me for taking care of her. It’s just incredible what some kids have to go through and how they’re able to maintain a positive attitude most of the time. This girl struggles, but she works really hard and has already overcome so much that I know she’s going to be successful. Knowing kids like her is what makes being a teacher the best career I’ve had.