Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I don't have time to write this

Too bad, writing it anyway. It's been a remarkable morning.

After spending all night mulling over how to wrap up Gatsby with my seniors, I was still coming up short. Somehow I managed a few anxiety-fueled hours of sleep. I dreamed that I tried to teach "The Waste Land" in the morning instead and utterly failed at it. My attempt at winging it lead me to search for my notes the entire class. When I finally pulled them together, the bell rang. Also worth noting that an esteemed history teacher who normally resides two floors above was in attendance.

Miraculously at five a.m., it dawned on me to teach dramatic monologues. So my students are writing poems in the voices of Daisy, Tom, Myrtle, Gatsby, and T.J. We'll see how they turn out.

But the really remarkable moment happened later when my other senior class embarked on our study of Emily Dickinson. She never fails to work her magic on them. One of my most lackadaisical students (the Lady Gaga fan from an earlier post) latched on to "Hope is the thing with feathers" and wouldn't let go. She wanted to know when she could start writing an essay on it, and how many pages she was allowed to write. The others came around a little more slowly, but by the end of class they were exclaiming how "cool" Dickinson was. All because of this little epigram:

IT ’S all I have to bring to-day,
This, and my heart beside,
This, and my heart, and all the fields,
And all the meadows wide.
Be sure you count, should I forget,—
Some one the sun could tell,—
This, and my heart, and all the bees
Which in the clover dwell.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

here I am

I thought I had better acknowledge the silence that has been this blog of late. I have been wondering a little about my lack of energy/desire to write because its not that I haven't read great things (check out Patti Smith's luminous prose in Just Kids). Its not that I haven't had interesting moments in the classroom this fall and spring (the students' modern-day Macbeth newscast; dancing with my freshmen down the hall to African drumming; watching a despondent student come to life when we read an editorial about Lady Gaga during class. She LOVED it; she read it aloud in its entirety; and she pronounced Jean Paul Sartre "Sartart" through the whole of it) that might be worth writing about in order to remember later. This blog has always been a natural outpouring of the work that I do, and the joy that I take in it. So what has happened to it?

My guess is that I have not adequately adjusted to my increased workload this year. Three preps, including AP English, has run me intellectually ragged. One sign of this would be the list that I've tacked up in my house titled "Summer." I can't get to things the way that I used to, and so I am relegating them all to the months of June and July.

What's happened to my love of writing? Something's got to give here. I need a new system. Think I'll put that on the "Summer" to-do list, too.