Sunday, August 24, 2008

High School is Wicked

OK. Tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow the teenagers will flood my room. They will get the freshly copied syllabus, they will begin testing and pushing the limits of my classroom. They will begin looking around and seeing who is popular, and who is not (thus the song from Wicked with Glinda and Elphaba....and yes, at NYU, I did actually get cast as Glinda in a play...I had to play her two different in which I created a neurotic Glinda who just had a nervous breakdown and was a chain smoker, you should have me show it to you sometime).

Back to the kids....

They will form clicks. They will put themselves into groups, the nerds, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the preppies, the Christians, the atheists, the emo many, many different ways to label one another and differentiate themselves from the next kid...and when they come into my room, I want to strip it all away. I want them to see a little bit more into each other, I want to encourage the shy student to speak up, the class clown to listen, the bully to feel tender will I do this? Through the great literature of the world, through ideas, through discussion, through teaching and fostering and caring and being interested in them....the characters in literature are great reflections of ourselves, and it is through relating to them that perhaps we form a little bit more of who we are. That is the power behind stories.

And so, in preparation, for going back to high school, I took out one of my favorite teenage dramas about the seriousness of cheerleading....and it reaffirmed to me my mantra for the school year...that's right all you teenagers full of angst and hormones. I say to you...



Alisa said...

I can't wait to see your Glinda!

You are a great teacher. Way to invite them to look beyond these comfortable labels. Why can't I take one of your classes?

Dottie said...

You show em D'arcy!

Jessica said...

The singer in the pink was an actress on The West Wing, so I knew her but didn't know that she sang.
(Mark didn't like her voice, though).
I've never seen Wicked, but it looks good. I'll have to check it out.
Good luck with school.
Jaxon's in his 4th week already? It's crazy how early we start.

KingdomWriter said...

You do sound like a great teacher, I hear a lot of passion in what you do! And I am sure they will bring it on, big time... Just take a deep breathe and dive in. Do you think they read your blog btw?

Kate Lord Brown said...

Wow - have a great term (I'm having a Breakfast Club moment - the jock, the princess ...) Hope you've got a new pencil case!

Jaime said...

good luck, D'Arcy! Ours don't come back until next Tuesday. Oh my am I curious what this year brings! Have a great one.

Jenn said...

You have such a great attitude! I'm sure kids are trying to get into your class! I ditto 'alisa' in the comment "Why can't I take one of your classes?"

Online D'Arcy class anyone?!

(And by getting older I meant like 60's, but 30 does always seem to mess with people's minds for some reason...)

smiles4u said...

I bet you are an awesome teacher! I hope you have a great school year with your students. I have so much respect for teachers and what they do. Working at a school and seeing all that the teachers put into their work is amazing. We work with some pretty tough kids at our school and it's pretty awesome to see the teachers get through some of them. I look forward to hearing how your first day/week went!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

You're a great teacher, D'Arcy.

Would that the world had more of YOU!

On behalf of all teenagers in the world (who don't yet realize how great they have it when they have "Miss B." for English), let me give a heartfeld THANK YOU!

You rock. :-)

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

heartfelt. With a "T".
(I really do know how to spell.... just typing too fast...)

Just felt the need to clarify, you being an English teacher and all.

OK, I'll shut up now. :-)

Stina said...

Brr, it's cold in here! (I love that movie.)

Good luck with the beginning of school!

Rowena said...

I agree with you about Literature. Of course I do! I'm an English Teacher. I think you're my stripe of English Teacher, too. Literature is about learning what it means to be human. What it means to be ourselves. What it means to be other people.

And Glinda is hysterical. I knew she was, but I've never seen Wicked. Great book though.

Ruahines said...

Kia ora D'Arcy,
The world needs teachers like you.
It gives us hope knowing there are people who care.
All the best my friend on your first day back. Kia ora!

Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

Ick...memories of my high school experience are resurfacing. Thanks a lot!

Oh, it is so good to be through with all of that garbage. (My poor kids, just on the fringe of it all.)

Chelle said...

I hope your first day of school was great. As a teacher, do you pick out a special outfit to wear for that first day? I remember what a big deal that was back in the day. Ahhh...memories.

Anonymous said...

I love Wicked--the book. I've yet to see the musical. And sometimes I love teenagers.

Good luck.

Sugar said...

Oh man, I'm kinda jealous of you right now! You get to go back to high school... on the first day... and hear all the buzz... and check out all the new clothes... and see all the kids squeal and hug and giggle and high five and razz the friends they didn't see all summer... MAN! I wish I could have been you today!

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

I know you are undoubtedly EXHAUSTED after the first day but please please please let us live vicariously through you!! Can we have a full, descriptive, verbose and wordy post on the First Day of HS? Pretty please? :-)

jomama said...

i hope your first day went well! i just think those kids are so lucky they get to have you as a teacher.

Jessica said...

How did it go?
I can't wait to hear :)

Gustav said...

I always remember the first day back at school as being exciting.

Think of everything your students will learn over the next year.

Its amazing and teachers are so important to our future.

Teachers have nearly as much influence on children as parents.

D'Arcy said...

First of all---You guys are definitely my cheer team! Thank you for all the well wishes!

I just finished up my second first day of school. I teach on the A/B day schedule so I do the same lessons twice. But, all in all, an AMAZING first two days. I think I put just the right amount of "You better take this class seriously because I don't take any crap!" Mixed with "You are a wonderful person who is going to become an amazing writer and critical thinker and we have a great journey ahead of us, so YEE-HAW let's get going."

I heard little tidbits about myself around the campus as the two days went by,

"She's seems tough. I can't believe she gave us homework on the first day of school. She's the only teacher who did that."

"Wow, this is going to be so much better than last years English class..."

"Did you see our booklist? So cool."

"She's kind of dramatic....but you know, she lived in New York."

Past students, now in 11th grade, all stopped in to tell me they missed me and that always feels good.

We have our first Free French Lessons club next Tuesday after class.....

Now, I am on to prepare the lesson for tomorrow:

Guy de Maupassant's short story "The Piece of String"

proceeded by a discussion on The French Caste System, the Franco-Prussian war and it's affects on the creation of Naturalism and the life of Maupassant --as well as a look at the inequality of the social rankings we give people (why some people because of appearance or money are trusted over those who lack status in either category.....) and the elements of plot. just one day.

It will make sense, I promise. Some heavy stuff for tenth graders, but they'll get it.

Brock said...

What the heck, are you some sort of professional blogger or something. I got a real kick out of your "confessions" and you've peaked my curiousity in the rice pudding. I haven't had rice pudding in years...

I admire you for not having a TV. I can't get rid of mine, I have an insatiable appetite for "The Office".

Enjoy BA. I'll have to follow up and see how you like it. Will you be watching Evita in preparation for your trip? I've heard it's beautiful down there.

(This is literally the second comment I've ever posted on a blog, so if I've written too much in one post, please overlook my ignorance.)

D'Arcy said...

Brock! Welcome to my very "professional" blog! It is such a blast from the past to hear from you...I think it's been about 13 years!

Yes, you can guarantee I will do my best, blond, Madonna impersonation as I step off the plane and sing...

"What's new, Buenos Aires! I'm new, I'm gonna say I'm just a little stuck on'll be on me too!"

Stay tuned!

Boquinha said...

What a great teacher you are! I love that this is how you're using literature. And I love that you're passionate about it. Good on you! ;)