Saturday, May 31, 2008

The last senior prank...

I know it's coming.

Frankly, I thought they'd do it last week.

It's the only one still to go.

On Tuesday, they decorated our Executive Director's office in princess-y pinks and frillies. (Nini would say his office never looked so nice!)

On Thursday, they took all the books out of our little library.

There is one to go, and I'm nervous because it hasn't happened yet.

Here's what I know: They intend to take all the classrooms and switch them around. They'll move all the furniture, decorations and materials from my space, and move it to someone else's room.

I have been expecting every day for the last week to come in and find that my room is no longer mine. My desk will have been relocated. All the books, shelves, chairs, plants--even Mbungo, will all be somewhere else.

They've done all the other stuff. They'll do this one, too.

I want to get it out there that, generally, I have no patience whatsoever for pranks. This tradition is one that irritates me to no end because I have no time for the disruptions that such things inevitably force upon my very tight end-of-year routine. I've let it be known that, if they're going to f*ck around with my classroom, the senior class had better:

a) Put stuff exactly where I can find it. Hiding stuff will result in my doing the same to their diplomas (or maybe their cars, via tow trucks).

b) Put stuff BACK exactly where it was. I have to proctor MCAS in my room tomorrow, and I will call them at 2am to move stuff back, so the kids who have to take that test can do so under the proper and appropriate conditions (and so I can get my own work done at the same time).

Hear me now, class of 2008! Do not do something that will make me want to seek vengeance for your sophomoric attempts to create a lasting institutional memory for yourselves. I will be ruthless in my retribution. I am not above returning a nuisance for a nuisance. Or worse for worse.

I love you all!

PS: No, Karla, Ruth and Wheeler, Wifeness did not tattle. She remained, as ever she would, tight lipped to the end.

PPS: No, Karla, Ruth and Wheeler, I will not tell you from whence I learned of your treacherous plans. It was magic. That's all you need to know.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thank you, Laurie B...

Laurie, who evidently checks my blog more regularly than I do of late, checked in some time ago to see how things are. Thank you for that, Laurie. It was the impetus I needed to take the time to put it into type.

Here are the latest happenings in my world:

Wifeness did a lot of studying of history to prep for the MTEL (Massachusetts teacher licensure tests), and also to bone up on all manner of arcane and obscure knowledge so she could do well in her Jeopardy™ tryouts. She says she totally kicked the MTEL in the arse. As to being on America’s most popular trivia game show? Well, we’ll see if the phone rings (they say that, once you’ve made it to the contestant pool, your odds are 50/50).

Things around Wayfarer House are coming into bloom. There is green everywhere—except the lawn. Observe, by way of analogy:

What one might expect in a lawn…

An example of what we have…

We’ve managed to pull the weeds out of the soil, and the grass is slowly poking it’s way up, but I fear it will need some serious love to get that manicured fairway quality lawn that will bring the property values in our neighborhood up, instead of down.

I just finished a proposal to present at the Coalition for Essential Schools Fall Forum event this November in Charlotte, NC. It’s the result of some recent research I’ve been doing into Carol Dweck’s work on intrinsic motivation and with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s research on the state of high performance he calls “flow” (which all started after reading Josh Waitzkin’s book, The Art of Learning). Tell me what you think of the idea:

Revealing the Mystical: The Zone of Creativity and Excellence in the Classroom

Elite athletes call it “the Zone”: That enigmatic state of performance and focus where we feel relaxed, alert, and fully engaged. When we are in this place, we can internalize interconnected knowledge in profound, meaningful ways. In this seminar, we will explore a practical, incremental approach to teaching and learning that develops the Zone, so that focused, creative and lasting learning can take place. Activities help participants examine ways to draw on the individual personalities and passions of teachers and students, respond to the ebb and flow of classroom energy and design lessons that emphasize depth and encourage expression.

This past weekend, we were all about tearing down and rebuilding our side porch. We put out a call to local Wayfarer Community members for help in doing it Amish-style (like a barn raising). Uncountable thanks go out to Matt, Wheeler, Karla, Heather, Mark and SiSi for their work on the porch itself, and to a great many people who worked behind the scenes to do food, cleanup and kid care. I was aware of Wifeness, Bessy, Maeve, Caleb, Alex and her family, and Lisa, but there are undoubtedly others I did not see because of all the sawdust flying about. It’s not 100% complete, but it looks really good and I am quite proud of it, and of the fact that doing it the way we did, with our little community coming together, worked so well. I look forward to returning the favor for each and every one!

There's more to tell, but it's bedtime and I have a busy day tomorrow. I said I'd try to do two posts a week. Let this be the first. I'll work to have the other up this weekend.