|I like the built-in straw.|
Actually, other than my little dehydration predicament, the first day back from paternity leave went swimmingly.
My class of seniors is down to six students. Ten are on the roster, and one girl tends to leave halfway through the period and not come back. She had a nurse emergency today. I've decided not to argue with her about it. So we were down to five until a student I've never met (he was new to the class in March) walked in with about 20 minutes left of our 100 minute class. My other senior classes tomorrow have larger rosters but about the same percentage of attendees. They have 14 class periods left before graduation. You'd think that wouldn't be so hard.
The two junior honors classes are reading Pride and Prejudice. They have to finish that book and give an oral presentation explicating a passage for the class. They have to also complete another oral presentation for the program assessment on their own time. Which means my own time, too. After school presentations. Every day for a week. Then they will read Hamlet, and then they will study a little Browning and possibly Keats and Yeats, who will be on your side if it's a dreaded sunny day. (Sorry about that. Every time I think of Keats and Yeats, the lyrics to The Smiths "Cemetery Gates" drag me back to 1986. Here's the song so you can sing along.)
And all of the above is supposed to happen in six weeks. My head hurts again.
At the end of the day, a soccer player popped her head in my room to say welcome back. (I had coached the girls soccer team for the past five years, but not this spring because of my leave.) I said hey and asked her how soccer was going. She shook her head and said that they're a good team, but they're not winning games. I said I missed being out there, and she said, "I find myself reaching the point sometimes where I need someone to start yelling at us." I laughed. She was talking about me. I do yell a lot as a coach. "We need a little more discipline out there this year," she said as she left for practice.
I started thinking. One of the things about teaching is that it's difficult to really tell if you're good at your job. You can love being there every day, or feel valuable as a meaningful part of someone's life. You can even witness the occasional epiphany and feel satisfaction that you might have had something to do with it. But knowing that you're actually teaching, that a student has actually learned and changed? Today's "reformers" will tell you a test score is enough to judge by. All I need is a student to pop her head in to say hi.