Thursday, January 13, 2005

dancing

We gave out new schedules today (we begin following the new schedules Tuesday). It hadn't occurred to me what a day this would be. It was. The girl I've talked about several times, L the homecoming queen, the one who comes and goes, the one who refused to take my exam, the one with the father she just met, the last couple of weeks this girl has been cranky and mean and saying things like how glad she was going to be not to be in my class anymore, how sick she was of writing, etc. When she saw her new schedule she bellowed because what do you think? She's been scheduled into my writing elective (she didn't elect for it) course! I told her it was a cosmic joke. I really hope she doesn't get out of it (she said she was planning to when she was bellowing and carrying on). I don't think she will though. I think she wants the class. We'll see.
But the other stuff about the day. A few kids I don't know came by my room and held their schedules in front of me to show me that they were going to be in one of my classes. My friend across the hall told me that a kid told her he'd heard I don't fool around. A lot of kids are asking me if it's true how much writing we do. I am developing a reputation. I guess it's silly of me not to have realized it, but I hadn't realized it.
And then during my planning period, for my perspective, a boy came to the door by my desk, the door with the hole in it, and made a mildly off-color remark through the hole. He was easy to chase off. In fact, it appears that I'm finding a new necessary voice. Not a loud one, but one with eyebrows.
Some very nice news is that quite a few of my students have been taking their exams back from me and revising them again (third and fourth times for some). I decided I'd let them revise until I have to turn in grades. I've even let a few take them home. I so know their writing, and they know it. They know better than to get someone else to write it for them, and they know I know how to know. I figure I'll get some more interesting reading out of the extra time they spend revising anyway.
The girl I'd had such trouble with, who got suspended on my account, whom I offered to help get a B this quarter (I changed her F to a D last quarter to give her a chance), she didn't come through and she failed for the year. She showed her upset with awful, vile-languaged anger. And then she walked out. I let her go. I'm so sorry for her. I wanted to help her. After she left, her friend, who also failed, said the girl should take her F because she deserved it. Then this girl left to go find her upset friend. It was a bad few minutes. After they left (we all felt heavy) we turned on the television to a music video channel (I can't believe I'm admitting this in public) and, since we were all girls, we danced. LB showed us a couple of moves and we had the best time. Tomorrow we're getting pizza for our last day. By the way, this is the class with L (above) and with M who told me I'm the first white woman she's ever known, who cried in the hall that time about her writing, etc. What a class!
Oh, and LB brought me the first four chapters of the book she's writing about her life. She has a natural understanding of pacing. She's a writer. And she knows it.
It's a bittersweet time. It's good for the children to have been successful and to have learned so much and to have grown so much and to have put another credit under their belts toward graduation, and it's good to see them go on to the next thing. And it's good for me to get a new group with whom I can practice what I've learned. But I so enjoyed and loved and appreciated these children for what they taught me. Here's a for-instance (besides the obvious new dance steps). M (above), who laughs at me all the time, a girl who is full of joy, asked me today why the body laughs, why it physically reacts that way. Like I know. So I came home and found a web site with information about that (it's about nerves) and printed it and I'm bringing it to her tomorrow. Just a small example of the things my mind has become open to because of the minds at work all around me every day.
And I'm paid money for this.

Melanie


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