Sorry. It’s been a while. I’ve become a full-time high school English teacher plus the school’s Speech and Debate Coach. First week of school is almost over (What?!) so I thought it’d be a good time for reflecting…
Day One seemed to never end. We have 4 90-minute classes a day (3 + a prep period) and I swear those 90-minutes were forever. I ended up teaching 4th period while sitting on the window ledge because my feet were so sore. I left my room that night at 9pm.
Day Two went by SO quickly. I swear I blinked and suddenly it was lunch and then suddenly it was over. I had my first “oh shit this lesson isn’t working…ABORT IT!” moment during first period English 11. I realized that having them read silently and discuss articles at 7:50 in the morning was not going to work. So, I scrapped the lesson in the middle and adapted. It went so much better — the AP even came by and popped her head in the door, saw that they were all reading and taking notes silently and diligently, and she whispered to me “My, what a well-behaved class!” It was definitely the right time for her to see them. I left my classroom at 8pm, so that’s improvement.
Day Three went awesomely. I felt more confident in my style, I gave the English 11 class time to work on “fun things” (like collaging their viewpoints on America) and was able to better implement my classroom management skills.
Speech and Debate has been interesting. It’s a transitional year for the program and luckily it seems like most students are excited and ready to embrace change (not all, but most). I’ve finally gotten them on my side — in fact, on day two, 10 students came into my room within 15 seconds of the lunch bell ringing and just made themselves at home and hung out while eating. That definitely made my day.
I am working at the best school in the district, with the best colleagues I could ever even dream of, with students that are excited to be at the school.
tl;dr: I’m now a full time high school English teacher and will be sporadic on here. But: I’m so excited for what is to come.
Shape the lips to an o, say a.
One word of Swedish has changed the whole neighbourhood.
When I look up, the yellow house on the corner
is a galleon stranded in flowers. Around it
the wind. Even the high roar of a leaf-mulcher
could be the horn-blast from a ship
as it skirts to the misted shoals.
We don’t need much more to keep things going.
Families complete themselves
and refuse to budge from the present,
the present extends its glass forehead to sea
(backyard breezes, scattered cardinals)
and if, one evening, the house on the corner
took off over the marshland,
neither I nor my neighbour
would be amazed. Sometimes
a word is found so right it trembles
at the slightest explanation.
You start out with one thing, end
up with another, and nothing’s
like it used to be, not even the future.
Half my friends are dead.
I will make you new ones, said earth
No, give me them back, as they were, instead,
with faults and all, I cried.
Tonight I can snatch their talk
from the faint surf’s drone
through the canes, but I cannot walk
on the moonlit leaves of ocean
down that white road alone,
or float with the dreaming motion
of owls leaving earth’s load.
O earth, the number of friends you keep
exceeds those left to be loved.
The sea-canes by the cliff flash green and silver;
they were the seraph lances of my faith,
but out of what is lost grows something stronger
that has the rational radiance of stone,
enduring moonlight, further than despair,
strong as the wind, that through dividing canes
brings those we love before us, as they were,
with faults and all, not nobler, just there.
I wonder how it all got started, this business
about seeing your life flash before your eyes
while you drown, as if panic, or the act of submergence,
could startle time into such compression, crushing
decades in the vice of your desperate, final seconds.
After falling off a steamship or being swept away
in a rush of floodwaters, wouldn't you hope
for a more leisurely review, an invisible hand
turning the pages of an album of photographs-
you up on a pony or blowing out candles in a conic hat.
How about a short animated film, a slide presentation?
Your life expressed in an essay, or in one model photograph?
Wouldn't any form be better than this sudden flash?
Your whole existence going off in your face
in an eyebrow-singeing explosion of biography-
nothing like the three large volumes you envisioned.
Survivors would have us believe in a brilliance
here, some bolt of truth forking across the water,
an ultimate Light before all the lights go out,
dawning on you with all its megalithic tonnage.
But if something does flash before your eyes
as you go under, it will probably be a fish,
a quick blur of curved silver darting away,
having nothing to do with your life or your death.
The tide will take you, or the lake will accept it all
as you sink toward the weedy disarray of the bottom,
leaving behind what you have already forgotten,
the surface, now overrun with the high travel of clouds.
Song of the Builders
On a summer morning
I sat down
on a hillside
to think about God -
a worthy pastime.
Near me, I saw
a single cricket;
it was moving the grains of the hillside
this way and that way.
How great was its energy,
how humble its effort.
Let us hope
it will always be like this,
each of us going on
in our inexplicable ways
building the universe.
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do—
determined to save
the only life you could save.
"With infinite time before us, we ask what we shall do? Shall we sit indoors and watch the coals turn crimson? Shall we stretch our hands for books and read here a passage and there a passage? Shall we shout with laughter for no reason? Shall we push through flowering meadows and make daisy chains? All is to come."
— Virginia Woolf, The Waves (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)
I want to carry you
and for you to carry me
the way voices are said to carry over water.
Just this morning on the shore,
I could hear two people talking quietly
in a rowboat on the far side of the lake.
They were talking about fishing,
then one changed the subject,
and, I swear, they began talking about you.
"Books, she thought, grew of themselves. She never had time to read them."
— Virginia Woolf, To The Lighthouse. (via fuckyeahvirginiawoolf)