Archive for January 26th, 2013

Catching up

We’re into the second semester at both schools, and time really seems to be flying by–almost the end of January!  Of course, soon we’ll be into Farch.

So many things to write about, but busy enough that I’m just going to jot down a few of them here and hope to write one or two non-placeholder posts this weekend.

  • I finished grading the SA exams on time, but ended up a little behind where I wanted to be in planning and prepping, so this week felt very catch-uppy. I’m behind in my writing-group goals, too, so will be working on that this weekend, along with a couple of neglected NLNRU projects.
  • The Snork Maiden and I went to an information session and tour at a public charter high school.  Have I mentioned that we told her that she could look at other schools for high school if she wanted?  It was very interesting and I have a lot of thoughts.  I think, though, that the upshot will be that she will decide to stay at SA.  (Important, though, for her to consider her options.)
  • Knowing that I’m going to be chair next year, I am now starting to look at my departmental colleagues in terms of how they are likely to serve as particular assets or offer particular challenges to me as chair.  It’s not always pretty.
  • I’m in a honeymoon phase with my new junior group.  It helps that we’re beginning with American poetry–I love poetry, of course, and am quite good at getting students to talk about it and feel confident that they can discover something about it.  We are doing a mix of hitting up the historical signposts of American poetry–Anne Bradstreet, Phillis Wheatley, “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” “To a Waterfowl”–and reading work in a contemporary idiom.  (I am trying to narrate this in a way that will not confuse them.)  So on Friday we had this wonderful discussion about Frank O’Hara’s “Why I Am Not a Painter”–which was good in part because I’ve always been drawn to this poem, but genuinely puzzled by it–and a combination of  confusion and attraction is a wonderful condition in which to approach a poem.  I actually think about it differently after the conversation, which is always a great pleasure, and I’m pretty sure they liked it, too.  (Two of my students, a cheerleader and a student council officer, were supposed to leave class early to prepare for assembly, and both of them said, “Well, we could stay a few more minutes” instead of packing up and racing out the door!)
  • However, I know that the people in this group are objectively weaker writers than average, or they’d be in the AP class at this point (about 60% of our juniors are in AP), plus I have talked with Romola about them.  So this really is the honeymoon period, and soon we will have to start working together on their reading comprehension and writing.  But we’ll have a foundation of having worked successfully on poems together.
  • I’ve got to get cracking on some tasks related to the literary magazine.
  • We’re going to visit Stubb over Presidents’ Day weekend.
  • Despite having a really nice time at NLNRU one day this week, chatting with a visiting writer and attending the master class he gave for our students–one of those special things I anticipate missing–I continue to feel that leaving is a good decision.