Monday, October 23, 2006

During a GOOD movie...

It's movie day today. I know, it probably sounds like I show lots of movies in my class, but in truth, I show maybe 6 all year. That's once a grading period plus a couple of progress reports--movies have helped me make a loooooottttt of deadlines. Hey--a girl's gotta do, right?

Anyway, the hard part about watching movies is that because we control our little universe, we usually watch movies we love. This is bad, because the little bastards shit all over the movies we love best--it's like teaching To Kill a Mockingbird all over again. Anyone who has tried to teach that book to a group of underachieving 9th graders can tell you about heartbreak--you start out with all of that sweet optimism and by the time you're done you're practically screeching "This is literature you little bastards, now shut the (*&^ up and LISTEN!!!" And notice how I didn't say the word 'read'--no, no, if you want them to be exposed to literature, you need to shore up your best Orson Wells/Casey Casum voice, suck it up and read the whole damn thing out loud. They usually tell you that you're the best English teacher they've ever had because you do that, and you smile weakly and remember back when you read your own damned novels because you could and you gave a shit and you wonder from which black hole all those teachers in those movies like Dead Poet's Society and Stand and Deliver sucked their time so you could have some too, but you're too sad and too disillusioned to use that time for the students, you'd rather write and dream about writing and making a difference except the *&^ers that have the power to distribute your books to the masses give less of a shit about your books than your students give about their last literature assignment. You'd have to see my grade report to see how truly depressing this is.

So I'm showing The 6th Sense, which is one of my all time favorite movies--I'm showing it because they totally don't get foreshadowing. I can barely hear the movie among all of the whispering, the clanking of empty gatorade bottles and the 'I'm not talking but I'm communicating wiht someone else in the room' noises.

And I'd probably quit and become the world's fattest waitress (but not most over-educated--you'd be surprised at how many waitresses and bar tenders there are with masters degrees) except...except...

Except a kid gave me a cd that probably saved my life in truth and in metaphor on Friday, and another kid gave me a Tristan & Isolde poster and James Franco is smoldering at me and he's HOT and a kid walked in with a Sacramento King's Poster because he saw me wearing a sweatshirt last week and...

And...

And deep down they're children, most of them, (the ones who aren't complete psychopaths and gang warriors and on drugs or just mean because they can be...) and sometime this year I will read a story or show a skill (even if it's yarnwork) or say something (Goddess help me, not always the stuff I want them to hear) that will stick with them and seem important.

I hope so. God, Goddess and other I hope so. I hope my only contribution to this profession isn't what I put in print when I'm wishing I'm not here.

3 comments:

Starfish said...

In hindsight I was probably one of those kids..too smart for my own good and the attention span of a gnat when there were boys around. But alot of things stuck with me, and the teachers I loved probably did not have a clue about it. Hang in there!

Julie said...

I had a biology teacher who once yelled "WATCH YOUR G****MN LANUGAGE!" at the class at the top of her voice, and we had to not laugh for the last half hour of class. Nearly killed us.

She was a good teacher. I remember stuff other than that. But that was priceless.

Hang in there.

NeedleTart said...

And then there is that little light that goes on in their eyes (probably from the sun shining in through their ears) when they *do* recognize a throw-away joke or an actual educational concept. Keeps me going.