The Life of Bon: Four more days of teaching. But who's counting?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Four more days of teaching. But who's counting?

Closing night of Peter and the Starcatcher.
Those suspenders get me.

It’s the end of the school year as we know it.  And I feel fine.

May is typically a really crazy month.  Sometimes I can’t handle the pressure of school ending and standardized testing and pop up assemblies and it makes crazy Bonnie emerge in all her glory and sometimes May ends in me crying stressed out frantic tears.  (See this post and this post and this post.)

This May has felt a lot less stressful.  May has been good.  May feels like  a lot of things are wrapping up and new good things are starting.  I can get used to the new May.

That’s not to speak of April.  April was nuts.

April was:
  •           four jewelry markets on four consecutive weekends
  •           Mother’s day sale and all accompanying orders and jewelry craziness
  •          Greg’s run of Peter and the Starcatcher which ended last night.  The run was five weeks            long and he performed over 30 shows.  It was wild.
  •      Preparing students for the AP test that they took on May 4.  The school days leading up to          this test were full of pressure and stress because I just can’t relax about stuff like this.

And we survived it all!  Last weekend was our last market, last night was Greg’s last show and now today after I get home from work we’re going to Disneyland!

But really!

We decided last weekend we needed a little break so we found some friends and as soon as I get home from work today we’re looking at a 10 hour drive.  Ain’t no thing!  June gets to stay home and play with grandmas because a four day trip including 20 hours of driving didn’t seem like the best thing for an almost two year old.  She has informed us she would like to come next time and we said yes, June, of course.

But this post wasn’t supposed to be about Disneyland!  It’s supposed to be about school!  And the end of school .  The end of the school year always ends up making me feel kind of nostalgic and sad.  I think it’s the closing doors and the moving on.  This year will be my sixth graduation watching those seniors get their diplomas.  But it still feels sad.  High school is over so soon, isn’t it?  I mean I think we can all agree that while we’re in it it’s pretty horrible.  Not many love high school.  But it’s still sad when it’s done.  

So what are we doing these last days?   Now that the AP test is over, my AP kids are working on scene project.   They have to choose a scene from any of those books that we read this year and perform it.  They are responsible for cutting the text, blocking, memorizing, costumes, set, etc.   Scenes can be anywhere from 7-10 minutes long.  This means that during class I have students reciting Pride and Prejudice in my room while others choreograph a duel from Hamlet on the lawn and a handful of students sit in the library and try to figure out how to act out the tralfamadorians from Slaughter House Five.  I mostly supervise and smile and drink diet coke.  It’s a good gig.

My juniors are reading The Things They Carried.  This miiiiiiight be my favorite book of the year to teach my regular classes.  They really invest in it in a way that they don’t with other books.  I always save it for the end of the year because I need something to really get me excited these last days.  I’ll tell you this now, if I left The Crucible for the end of the year I’d just give up at this point and start showing Office reruns instead. 

The first chapter of TTC is about all the weight that the soldiers in the Vietnam war carry- both figuratively and literally.  The day that I introduced the book I had students empty out their back packs on to their desks.  They wrote down every single they were carrying, both in their bags, on their person, etc.  Anything they had carried with them into the classroom.  They shared their answers and I got the expected answers (wallets, notebooks, cell phones) as well as the unexpected answers (floss, safety goggles, stuffed animals.) 

Then I had them write down anything else they were carrying with them that were not visible- things that were not tangible, but still had a weight to them.   Memories, culture, religious experiences, stress, anxiety.  It led to a great discussion of all the things we continually carry around with us and I kind of wanted to just hug them all and not let them out into the great big world quite yet.

If you’ve never read Things They Carried, I encourage you to.  Tim O’brien is a storyteller to rival any other.  There is some violence and language (probably at least a dozen f words) so if you’re sensitive to that, you might want to avoid it, but if you can handle it, I think you should read it.  It’s the most beautifully written war book I’ve ever read.   GO READ IT.

Speaking of reading, I just finished Where’d You Go, Bernadette.  I need to talk to someone else who has read it.  I have feeeeeelings about it!

P.S.  Thanks so much for all your suggestions for our home on the last post.  I am excited to use a lot of those ideas and I’ll keep you updated on the progress.  I have to admit I laughed out loud at the comment  “It's going to be very hard to make your couches look attractive” about the only piece of furniture that both Greg and I really like and want to keep.  HA!

P.P.S. Are you reading Nineteen Minutes?  Or have you read it?  Come to book club next Tuesday.  Email me at for directions if you want to come.

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