January 7, 2009


You've heard about my last period class at night school, right? Those kids are a riot! Or like they to cause riots, or something like that. They totally sucked me into distraction tonight. Sometimes they simply just will not work, and when The Master Distractor is there, he likes to try to get me to talk about life and such so they will not have to work. I don't know what I was thinking. I just pulled up a desk and started telling them stories.

The principal sometimes comes in, and they easily suck him into storytelling--but then the principal has some great stories that could or could not be true. He's had some incredible things happen in his life, so the fabricated bits are rather hard to identify.

My life...not that interesting.

But they wanted to hear about my husband--some were under the impression I didn't have a family, despite the fact that many others knew for sure. They wanted to know how we met, how he proposed, and what our wedding was like. I have a few details I play up, like him falling in love at first site with me, and how I was wearing bunny ears that day. (It was the day before Easter!) My wedding is disappointing, as it was small ceremony at a Reno chapel on the Truckee River, but one of my former students, who was walking her dog, came along just as we finished our vows. "Hi! What's new in your life? I just got married. If you and your rottweiler had come along a few minutes earlier, you could have been a guest!"

They also want to know what I was like when I was a teenager. I was a big geek in high school, and I'll admit it. I do have a couple of stories of racism and prejudice I can break out when needed. They can't believe it happens to white people from Utah.

And who doesn't like to hear about some of the crazy, mean students I've had over the years. They like to hear about the ones who were worse than they are. They are actually incredulous at times. Actually, my former students aren't crazier than my current students. My current students can't see that their own behavior is disrepectful.

And they always want to know why I don't have any kids of my own. "Miss! You should have a baby! It doesn't hurt that much." Do they think the pain of childbirth is my primary reason? Uhm. Okay. And, then the girls started sharing stories of childbirth, while the boys listened, pale-faced and quiet. The pregnant girl (6 weeks along) didn't look much better, but she was very curious about what to expect. So, yeah, quite a few of them learned something tonight.

Many of my students aren't motivated in English at all--even to earn a lousy credit. And many more simply only want to exert the effort to get the credit--with a D's worth of work. I have a handful who enjoy the class and want to learn more. I might be able to get a few more students to see the fun side of learning if I could ever convince then that we could have storytelling every single day through writing.

We all have our stories to tell--and I know for a fact that their stories are more riveting than mine. I know some of their stories. They make me laugh. They make me cry. Some of them even haunt me long after the students are gone. I have some ideas bouncing around in my head right now. Awesome, inspiring ideas. It's just that...I'm beaten down. I've had a lot of great ideas. You don't even want to see the destruction they have caused to my bag of ideas. But that's just another story to tell.

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