Daily Objective: Student will be able to utilize direct quotations to infer character viewpoints, using the character of Boo Radley in To Kill a Mockingbird. SWBAT define basic qualities of urban legends.
In preparation for the first varsity home football game of the year, Friday was a pep rally schedule, which chopped about five minutes off of every class. Not a big deal for me in terms of lesson planning, but I was amazed at how much it threw off my students.
I was told by just about everybody I’d get sick after the first week of school. I assumed the whole laryngitis/voice loss thing qualified, but as Friday morning rolled around I felt like my head was about to explode. The headache started around lunch time, as did the cough – the combination made each cough so painful I was close to tears. By the time sixth and seventh period rolled around I was in such miserable shape that each time a kid asked, “When are we out of this class?” (which happened once every five minutes) instead of politely reminding them to stay on task, I’d check my schedule and tell them. I’m not sure they realized I was counting down the minutes until they were gone too.
After being on their best new-teacher-behavior the whole week, by Friday they started to push the limits. I was too tired/sick to handle proper classroom management, and I’m embarrassed to say my class ran a little wild. This weekend will involve creating seating arrangement for at least two classes that might possibly be boy-girl-boy-girl. At fifteen years old, that is still somewhat of a punishment – at least for the girls.
I was actually pretty excited about my lesson – I did a mini CFU (check for understanding) at the beginning of each period to make sure everyone was on the same page after reading TKAM chapter one.
About 95% knew that Scout narrated in first person, that TKAM took place in the 1930s, and could identify a few of the qualities of Maycomb County, Alabama. Yesterday’s read-along seemed to have made some impression. The main part of my lesson was to examine the character of Boo Radley using textual evidence to infer how the neighborhood felt about him.
To kick off the lesson I introduced the concept of urban legends and oral tradition, two genres on the state standards list, and showed them a short clip of the interview scenes from Blair Witch Project. To my surprise, most of them had never seen it. It came out in 1999 when I was in the fifth grade, which means they would’ve been in diapers.
It was a neat introduction, and most of them made the connection between the clip and the book. But past that first ten minutes I lost many of them to the Friday afternoon/change in routine jitters. Despite all the pleasure I’ve derived from my new job this week, I was SO ready for that final bell to go to the pep rally.
I’m a junior class sponsor, which means I get to help set up for prom, sell popcorn at basketball games, and sit with them in the gym at the pep rally. It was a neat experience for a new teacher.
About a third of my students were involved somehow, either as a band member, cheerleader, dancer, student council, or athlete. I was reminded why I try not to give homework – they’d never have time to make it beneficial. When the band played the alma mater, everyone (hulking football players included) joined pinkies and sang along. The freshmen had just finished learning it in their English classes, so they could sing too. After a stressful afternoon, seeing everyone join together and take pride in their small-town high school was a huge encouragement, a reminder that while I’m focused on the academic component, high school isn’t really about academics to these kids.
Sure it’s important to get into college, but I think most of my high school education was social. Learning how to date, how to navigate the tide of cliques, how to get dumped, how to faithfully attend football games when your team loses 3-31, how to relate to parents, how to balance academics and extracurriculars and friends when you place a different priority marker on them than the adults around you.
A small part of me felt a little like a turncoat, singing some other high school’s alma mater rather than my own. I was incredibly nostalgic for my own high school experience, which doesn’t feel like a whole five years ago. I think there are few things more powerful to me than the national anthem played by a high school marching band at a Friday night football game. I was glad I was there.
After spending 25 minutes enjoying the marching band, cheerleading routine, mascot, and alma mater, the 3:20 bell rang ending the day, and the magical nostalgic Americana reverie I was in snapped.
I ran with them to get out of the building and instantly regretted it when I got stuck in high school parking lot traffic. I spent the rest of my evening drinking 14 mugs of tea with lemon and honey and finishing reading the Game of Thrones series. Thus ended my first week of school, a fascinating, empowering, terrifying, and exhausting new experience. Only 110 more days till Christmas break!