Trouble in mind

One of my AP English Language classes is emerging as this year’s special case.  (In a way it’s surprising that it’s taken two months for a special case to emerge.  I suppose that means it’s a comparatively mild one.)  As a class, they are a mix of a few particularly bright lights, a handful of weaker-than-average readers, some more-than-usually talkative and contentious people and a couple of silent-as-the-graves.  They are a class of extremes. For a while, they were kind of my favorites because they were so lively and irreverent, and also because there are only fifteen of them, which seems like an ideal size (my other Lang class is 21, which is fine, just a bit more cumbersome).  One week we even had a semi-spontaneous ice-cream party that happened because of this exchange:

Me, passing out handouts: Isn’t this paper exactly the color of mint chocolate chip ice cream?

Average student who is more gregarious than average: I love mint chip!  We should have an ice cream party.

And so, about a week later: ice cream party.  Just because.  We actually got quite a lot of work done while enjoying our ice cream. They’re funny and highly responsive.  But we are just making our way into a nineteenth-century novel and they need to step up their reading–they can’t expect to run an eye down the page and understand it.  The reading assignments are very reasonable, based on my and others’ years of experience teaching this novel at this school.  Last year’s groups (the ones I had while Lucinda was on maternity leave) tackled the book cheerfully.  This group sulked and whined.  I ought to have called them on it, but I didn’t–I coaxed and cajoled and then was mad at myself for not adopting a more bracing stance.  It was toward the end of a long and busy day and I think we were all tired.  Also, I’ve been telling them for weeks in advance of starting that they needed to tell me if they didn’t have the correct edition–I would help them to get one–and two of them showed up without the book today.  One of them had left it at home, and the other just ordered it on Sunday.  ARGH. Then they were all gone and I fretted in the back of my mind about it for oh, the next six hours or so.  I’m done fretting now, but I’ve made a little appointment with myself on Tuesday afternoon to make some special plans for this class on Wednesday.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] to their shirts with binder clips.  Since then it’s been somewhat better.  In today’s “special case” class, only one student came without the book, but he’d done the reading, at […]

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