I had a student write on my facebook wall yesterday. He asked for book recommendations over the summer. He said that he enjoyed the novel he had read for his independent reading choice (for the last two weeks of school students read any book they liked and did a project) and would pretty much read anything I suggested. He had heard that reading was a good way to study for the SATs and wanted to do a little over the summer. How cool is that! I can’t describe how good that makes me feel. It’s just a tiny thing, but moments like those make me feel like I’m making a difference. I listed about seven books I thought he might enjoy– books that would challenge and engage him, and just might help improve his vocabulary and reading skills enough to help him an the SATs. He chose two great ones: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and Jurassic Park. I know he’ll have fun with those.
It’s been over a year, and a tough one at that. But I’m not going to dwell on how difficult this past year was for me. It’s summer, and the world is open. I’ve been working on the novel, and that is, as Martha would say, a “good thing.”
The vegetable garden is in, the herb garden is in, and several flower gardens are in. Salads every day for lunch, fine food and wine for dinner, and books on tape. For now, life is good.
There was so much drama involved in the production of our literary magazine this year (we had an all-girl editorial staff, made up of artists and poets), but it turned out well. I can’t say that it will win a Pullitzer, but it looks good. And most importantly, it provides young people with a voice. I can remember the joy of seeing my first byline when I was in high school. If advising this literary magazine touched even one student writer or artist, then it was worthwhile.
Less than a week to go before summer begins, and I am feeling the pressure. Finals, parent phone calls, last-minute grading… it all adds up. I wonder how many teachers are like me– I take piles of work home, intent on grading, and it ends up on the couch unread. What is it about finding home that zaps my strength? Perhaps the adrenaline required to teach drains on my drive home. I remember working on my thesis (M.A. English), and learning that women seamstresses in the 1800s worked, during the height of the season, 20 hours a day. By the end of the day, they would faint from lack of stimulus. Finally, an occupation that employs people who work harder than educators do (that’s just a half joke).
Ah- the push to be positive… the student publication I advise has completed its literary magazine!!! Hooray!
Well, that’s all the typing I have energy for. See? Even my grammar is going.
It felt like walking on hot coals to get this field trip going, but once we got to NYC to see “Moon for the Misbegotten,” it was worth all the effort. The chaperones were amazing, the students were wonderful, and the play was phenomenal. I had struggled getting tickets, approval, students, a bus– everything under the sun. But the students really took home something from the performance, and that made my day. Will I do it again? Give me a week to decompress and I’ll let you know.