So, today a couple of things worth blogging about happened. Also, since I've broken my foot, my after-school activities have been severely curtailed and leave some space for blogging. Little blessings?
Anyone who works with teenagers knows that it's a constant battle to keep them from saying gay or retard in a derogatory way. A lot of teachers give up. But I can't. Maybe it's the thought of my wonderful younger brother standing proudly as his class's homecoming rep last year. Maybe it's all of the people who happen to be gay who have loved me in my life. But I can't let these words go. If my job is to teach kids that words have meaning and power, then I think I have to show them how using words negatively can affect people around them. So, I don't allow those words in my classroom. I try not to be mean about it and I give kids a chance to rephrase, but I never, ever let them slide (when I hear them). Today, one of the eleventh grade girls who rarely gives me a lick of trouble busted out the r-word. I was shocked and surprised, but she immediately corrected herself, and I forgot all about it. After class, she came up to me nearly in tears apologizing for how disrespectful she'd been. I mean, I couldn't even remember what she had to apologize for, but it was obviously weighing on her. I'm sorry she felt so upset, but it's kind of nice to see kids Getting It -- especially when the It is something bigger than worrying about their SOLs tomorrow.
I've also started to notice that I'm not exhausted when I come home in the afternoons any more. I still stay at school till around five most afternoons, but when I get home I still feel alert enough to enjoy something besides hiding under my covers and watching Glee on Hulu (still eight days behind). This increased energy seems like a huge victory. I can't wait to take advantage of it when I'm back to being a biped.
Today did have its absurd moments, however. After school, I had a phone call from an irate parent demanding to know why I hadn't held any practices for the male cheerleaders who are supposed to perform at the pep rally on Thursday. After patiently explaining that I had tried three times to reschedule after breaking my foot and no kids had showed up, she explained to me that was because I wasn't holding my practices at eight o'clock at night after all the other commitments had ended. Now, I know the juniors have met after school and I really can't imagine my very wonderful administration expecting me to have practice for a fake team at eight at night on top of all the other things a first year teacher gets to experience.
I didn't tell her this, of course, I just let her volunteer herself into practicing with the kids at night and turning a video into me. I hope this works out because I'm a little preoccupied with the testing, conferences, and other duties of actually teaching coming up this week. Please say a little prayer for my eleventh graders taking their SOLs tomorrow and Wednesday. Mostly pray that they don't lose focus halfway through the test and can keep it together long enough to get the pass advance I know each of them has inside themselves.