School started last week. In some ways it doesn’t really feel like it yet. I mean, there are those two days that are kind of like practice. This week, kids will be fixing their schedules, transferring from one class to another, and teachers will be waiting and hoping things settle down quickly. Not waiting too much. We have to get started. If a new kid shows up in class, he’ll just have to work a little harder to catch up.
I’m feeling pretty lucky this year. I have two sections of my AP Literature and Composition class. This is the third year for me to teach it, and I’m starting to feel more confident about it, although I was pretty disappointed with last year’s exam scores. I also have two sections of English IV, aka British Literature; one of those sections has 28 kids and is my biggest class. What I was most nervous about before school started but now I’m pretty excited about are the two sections of AP English Language and Composition. Nervous because I’ve never taught this one, but excited because this group of juniors seems like a really good bunch of kids.
One thing that’s been a little weird is seeing so many of last year’s students posting on Facebook about moving into dorms, going to freshman orientation at various colleges, buying books, etc. As English department chairman, I hope our school adequately prepared them for this first year of college English. As the final high school English teacher for so many of the college-bound kids, I feel that responsibility even more and keep going over questions like, “Did we spend enough time on MLA format?” “Did they really learn how to analyze a piece of literature?” “Can they synthesize sources to back up an original idea?” “Will they remember to be consistent in verb tenses and that ‘a lot’ are two words?” But part of me, too, is more parental, wondering if this one will realize he simply cannot be on his phone during class in college, that this one has to focus his creativity and not draw in class all the time, that another can’t worry about boys so much. I’m sure they’ll do fine. Some have the potential to do tremendous things and I hope they achieve those dreams.
Writing has slowed down again. Part of it, I guess, was just losing focus due to getting ready for school. Another reason I hope things settle in pretty quickly. I don’t ever want teaching to become routine, but I’m hoping to develop a successful pattern of in-class work that will eliminate the need to bring home a lot of papers to grade so that I can continue to write more. Yesterday I rewrote a couple of chapters in The Fetch and ripped out a couple of others. Work on that one is soooo slow and tedious. Nadia’s Children is slow simply because of the ongoing issues with Scrybe Press. Why bother finishing it? That’s a crappy attitude, I know. There’s also the problem with the ending. The ending is inevitable, but I don’t want it to happen.
I’m gonna see if I can squeeze off a little more work before bed.