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.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

There's Mohr to Life

I'm so tired and so completely burnt out right now, I can't even believe I am blogging right now, but I just have to blog about this day. You all (my readers, friends, family members who care about me) have to hear about this phenomenal (albeit long) day. Will show it in tidbits.

7:38am - My senior advisory students are supposed to be giving speeches to underclassmen. They've been underprepared and worrying the heck out of me for the past month. They all show up professionally dressed and ready to go. Some of them need to print their speeches again in larger font and cut into notecards so they don't end up reading it, so we rush through that together, then I send them off.

8:20am - My seniors wander back to class. Some of the ones who were most nervous proudly report receiving scores of proficient and even distinguished. I feel like one proud teacher. All those hours watching speeches and reading speeches and giving blunt feedback paid off.

8:30am - I happen to be in a public speaking unit with my sophomores, so I wander over to the MPR to make sure everything is set up. The students set to speak today are all dressed professionally. None wore leggings or mini skirts. Yes! Victory! Almost every student scheduled to speak today brought a guest.

9:00am - Speeches are going wonderfully, so I am excited when my boss walks in to hear the next few. They maintain consistent eye contact and share about interesting topics. The experience clearly has been meaningful and worthwhile. Highlights include when 10 members of Luis' family wander in to hear him give a speech about resisting bad influences and that his family was right in their warnings, and the 5 minute speech that Alex gave about how his mom inspires him. I am pretty sure his mom was in tears. He's right... he and his brothers are no walk in the park.  :-)  As speeches end and I thank the family members for attending, my boss chats with parents and my students pose for pictures with their family members, former teachers, etc.  This is what this was supposed to be. Yea!

10:10am - Break. I need another cup of coffee. I hit brew on my Keurig while Melissa retakes a test she mysteriously bombed. Neither of us were sure why she did so poorly, so she is taking it again. Brianna stops to ask what my "you sort of had two topics in that speech" comment meant. I explain what nepotism is and how her speech about competition in the work place is sort of about nepotism too. Some students wander in to buy tickets for Willy Wonka and I breath a sigh of relief that the tickets are finally starting to sell.

10:15am - I look up from locking up the ticket money to see some of my drama students through the window. I wonder what they are up to, so I step outside to observe some of my advanced drama students in an independently planned rehearsal for a scene they were struggling with - the fight between Hermia and Helena in Midsummer Nights' Dream. They work to solidify the blocking. The girls' cat fight looks real. I stifle my excitement to offer Demetrius some tips on emotionally sustaining his character.

10:30am - Honors English has started now. As the 41 students fill the room and #41 asks where her desk has gone (I find it under a pile of costumes), I remember my coffee. Joy. I run it through the microwave quickly before taking advantage of the students' journal time to distribute their copies of the book they self-published this week. They titled it "There's Mohr to Life," and it is about their experience creating a buried list and working to cross things off this year. They did a great job, and I know its a good book.

1:15pm - Where did lunch go? The musical theatre kids came by to help with stuff, but they've grown so fond of each other, they did more chatting and eating than helping. The bell has since rung, and I have found myself finishing the faux suspenders on all the Oompa Loompa shirts. I run out of ribbon, realize we never found the fabric to cover the doorways of the flats, and that I am completely out of paper and need to print a bunch of stuff, including programs for the show. I am on my prep period until 2:30pm. Can I make it to Wal-Mart by then?  I decide yes and race out the door. As I am walking to my car, I receive a text from my mom: "Reading the book. Inspired to start my own list."   :-)

4:00pm - Is this actually happening?  Are we actually starting rehearsal on time? With 6 working mics?  It is not the 7 I hoped for, but hey... it's better than the 1 we had working on Monday.

5:00pm - Need to break rehearsal to give the oompa loompas notes before they run off to open house. Their talkativeness is making me crazy. They are only in 3rd and 4th grade, so it is to be expected, I guess. My musical director looks at me and says, "It is really like herding cats." I look at the choral director with wide eyes as if to say, "How do YOU manage them?" His expression offers no answer.

5:15pm We wrap up and explain the importance of knowing where you are supposed to be and when you are supposed to be there. I make myself a note to beg the high schoolers to help with this part. We all three (the other two directors and I) conclude that this has gone much more smoothly.  The loompies leave and the high schoolers take their dinner break while I try to figure out how we went from 6 working mics an hour ago to 2 working mics by the end of that act. I decide to let the tech guys take a real break and aim to fix it myself. I DO and feel incredibly proud of myself (tech is not my strong point).

5:40pm Break over. I determine that we WILL get through this run through. I promise not to stop unless necessary. I hang out in the back to polish tech. I manage to get through the whole thing without calling Steven. It turns out Alexis is a pretty good lighting technician and knows the transitions better than I do, so I shut up and watch.

7:00pm We wrap the run through. The energy is high and everyone is doing well. Musical director takes Wonka to polish solo numbers while I go over my notes.

8:00pm We miraculously manage to get everything cleaned up and put away and leave campus on time for the second night in a row. Woo hoo!

10:00pm Sitting at home on the couch, I finally get a chance to check the system for my benchmark results. They are leaps and bounds better than last semester, and one kid actually scored 100% And he's not even in honors! I heave a sigh of relief.

11:00pm I realize I have not graded a single paper this evening, but decide to call it a night anyway.

It's been a really good day.

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