Besides their skills, they seem like good people too. Not even close to one discipline problem so far, which isn't that surprising, but it is still so nice to experience. They seem to want to learn and it appears that they'll work hard to improve. I'm anxious for the class shifting to subside so each individual class can start developing an identity.
Besides my classes, school itself is off to a fantastic beginning. All the kids seem positive and happy to be there. All the teachers seem to be positive and on their best behavior. All the administrators seem to be working hard and the climate is great. Each one of my 24 years teaching has been different and this one will keep that record intact, but if the first couple weeks are any indication, it's going to be a sweet next 170 days.
I must admit that my days have been improved by the Drama Club. Our school had a bit of a hiccup and we entered the school year with no drama teacher and therefore no drama classes and no drama club. My three wonderful English teacher friends, Geoff Schofield, a big old brown bear of a man and teaching wizard, Jennifer McIntyre, a younger burgeoning super-teacher, and Bethany Rivard, ex-drama geek and literally the best teacher in the world, and myself, nerd at heart, decided that we would step in and supervise the after school drama club. Best. Decision. Ever. First off, we're partnering with the Portland Playhouse to put on Macbeth in November at school and also at a festival in Portland. The Playhouse sent us two directors, Sarah McGregor, a virtual dervish of positive energy and wonderment, and LaTevin Ellis, a young man from Florida with more talent in one arm than I will ever have in my entire existence. They are UNBELIEVABLE and our school is so incredibly to have them. When Sarah decides to enter the teaching profession in a public school, I hope it is at my school and I hope I'm around to see it. Lives will be changed. I love it when good people enter my life but I'm even happier when good people enter my students' lives. We had 27 kids out yesterday and today we had almost 40. Tomorrow it wouldn't surprise me to see even more. The bravery these kids have is so admirable and I have a feeling that I'll be writing about them often.
Two days in to the drama club and my heart has grown, my mind has opened, and my soul has been enriched. Thank you Sarah and LaTevin. Thank you students. Thank you Geoffrey, Jennifer, and Bethany. Thank you to Sean, Alisha, and Joel, graduates who came by to help. Also, this version of Macbeth will kick some serious ass.
Letter to my Son by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Oh my gosh is this amazing. Ta-Nehisi Coates is an African-American writer, essayist/journalist, whose voice has become louder and more listened to during the past year of racial unrest. Not only are his words strong, they're also on point. In an era where Ben Carson seems to get more airtime detailing what he feels to be as "The Black Experience" it's refreshing to know that Coates is out there for people to read. Where Carson is completely out of touch, and in fact could be called the biggest Uncle Tom around, Coates is strong and explains what it's like to black in America in 2015.
Essay: 10 of 10
To have this written as a letter to his son is brilliant. It makes his opinions and ideas personal and this should be mandatory reading for all politicians, as well as more evolved people like everyone else in the country. Coates has his critics but they are usually closed-minded conservatives who long for a return to Jim Crow laws. To me that makes his essay more legitimate. If it offends closed-minded people, and it has, there must be truth to it.
Teachability: 10 of 10
This is an important piece of literature and years from now may be looked at as a turning point for civil rights and race relations in America.