The Author

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I am a high school English teacher, and mother of two charming little ones of my own. I teach in a high poverty urban charter school, while I live in a typical American suburb that has frequently been rated one of the safest cities in the country. It is a paradox I struggle with constantly, but it is my life.

Friday, June 3, 2011

They make me so proud

Sometimes, my students make me feel like a proud parent, only I have shared them with 20 or so other proud parents too.

Today was the first of our distinguished graduate speeches. All of the students have to give graduate speeches as part of our portfolio program, but only students going for the title of distinguished graduate have to present in front of everyone. The ASB president presented today and made me cry. In fact, both of the students made me cry, but the ASB president more so. She is so wise for a young person and represented our school so well. She was able to perfectly articulate what a global leader is, and how she has become one through her education at our school. My favorite part was when she gave her advice to the VISA faculty. This a student who, when she was a sophomore, told me she wanted to be a teacher when she grows up, and has volunteered as a teaching assistant at the elementary school (She has since changed her mind, but who knows... she could change back). She says, "Teachers, even when we act like we are not listening, we are, and we know you care, and it means a lot, so please keep on our cases," and then she says, "Teachers, please keep trying new things and new technologies every year. Just because a lesson plan worked 5 years ago doesn't mean it will work today."  Wow.... she is wise beyond her years. And then the principal perfectly articulated my very thoughts when he told the students how proud he was to have them graduating from our school, and then he thanked the tech guys in the back. I was sitting in the back row, and I looked back to see a group of my first class of sophomores. A group who taught themselves to run audio visual equipment during their sophomore year in my "Tibet through the Red Box" character project. It made me proud.   :-)

And then there was yesterday...

All semester, my poor drama students ran into challenge after challenge in trying to reach the goal of a night of completely student directed and student produced one-act plays. We hit a complete wall after I ran around like a mad-woman trying to get everything together at the last minute and they kept flaking on responsibilities, and I had to cancel the plays a week before they were to go up. We compromised with that we would perform them during school, and I would completely be hands off, not even helping with getting props or anything. The first two plays went off without a hitch for student audiences. Then the third play, the longest and most complicated one, we decided to perform yesterday for just an audience of some teachers and a few seniors who had a prep period, based on the fact that the director just didn't think they were going to put together a quality performance.

But boy did they ever. They were fantastic. In the true spirit of this semester, it started with some drama (the teenager kind, NOT the theatrical kind) and the possibility of one of the lead characters not being able to perform, but all of a sudden, literally 5 seconds before I told the director to roll the curtain and have her assistant director do the part with a script in hand, the actor made it on stage, just barely... and you would never have even known that all hell had broken lose just moments before.

Seriously... it was great. All the details were there, all the energy was there. It was even funny, which was my biggest fear. It is a satire, and it was not coming off as funny due to lack of energy, bad timing, stuff like that. It was almost offensive, but you know what... they pulled it together and yesterday was hysterical.
See, you can see here the amount of energy. I know they are stills, but I think you can tell...

They were so impressive, those who saw were all begging me to get them a real audience.

So, an encore performance is coming.

If you want to see it and happen to be free during the day, I can get you a visitor pass on to campus.
Thursday, June 9th, 2:30pm

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