Tuesday, October 31, 2006

All is quiet on West Campus

All is quiet on West Campus. Everyday so much happens. Today, I forced myself to sleep in a bit. My first class is at 11:10. I forced myself to sleep in until 7:30. Who would have ever guessed that one day sleeping in until 7:30 am would be sleeping in for me? There was a time when I could have slept in until 7:30 pm. Those days are gone. Summer’s gone…summer’s over.

This week is my turn to give the lecture to the three classes. My subject is the macabre and unexplained. My subjects include the mothman, the bloody Bender family, the Winchester house, and the Bell Witch. With the seventh graders, I start with the Bell Witch. Some of the students are listening. Many of the students are not. I've got seven ways of going,seven wheres to be,
seven sweet disguises, seven ways of serving Thee.

The most disruptive students are Trevor, Charles, and Sam. Frequently, I stop talking to tell them to shut up. They do not listen. Finally, I tell them the next one that I catch talking has to talk to their classroom teacher Michelle about why they are talking. Again, Trevor talks. I tell him he must talk to Michelle. When the students are in trouble, they look at this as if this is big trouble and their eyes well up with tears. I tell him to go talk to Michelle. He does not want to. I tell him we will go together which I say forceful enough for him to know that I am really pissed. He walks out into the hall. I tell him to follow me. He does not.

I walk to the teachers’ office. I tell Michelle the problem. I tell her Trevor and Sam and Charles will not stop talking. After I told them to stop, Trevor kept talking. She tells me to bring him to her. She is not happy. Trevor is waiting outside the classroom. I tell him to come on. He does not want to come. Michelle is waiting for him I tell him. He looks as if he is about to cry. I tell him he must go talk to Michelle and explain why he talks during class. Back in class, the students are completely attentive. Sam and Charles are scared they will be next. For the rest of the class, the students actually listen to me as I talk about the Bender family and the Winchester mansion.

The sixth graders, yesterday, played Murder Winks – a game I came across on the web. This proved very difficult. In this game, the students sit in a circle with eyes closed. The teacher, me, goes around and taps four students –who are the murderers - on the shoulder. Those students kill other students by winking at them. The students they wink at die. The non-murderers are to guess who the murderers are. If they guess right the murderers are caught. If they guess wrong, they die.

Since we still have beautiful days here, I took the students outside. We were going to go onto the sports field but the coach had a class on the field. The students did not want to sit on the sidewalk because it is too dirty. Teddy pointed out a place to sit on the grass. Some of them still complained. I told them to shut up and sit down.

Once the students were sitting, I explained the game with the help of several translators. Sooham immediately piped up that he wanted to be a murderer. He tried to do this secretly but of course he was not able to. I told him he would be a murderer during one of the games but everyone would know if he was a murderer now. He kept saying “Please, please Teacher.”

We tried the game the first time and it did not really work out. We tried it again and it did not really work out. Sumran told me it is a boring game. She had another game we could play. I told her we are playing this game. She sat back down and sulked for half a second.

Finally, once the students understood the game better, they started to almost enjoy it. Some students still peeked to see who the murderers were when they were being picked. These students I could usually spot. After the students became more excited about the game, I let Oscar, Vivienne, Vincent, Sumran pick the murderers. This seemed to make them happy.

Sooham kept peeking. I kept throwing him out of the game. He wanted to pick the murderers. I told him cheaters do not get to pick. He asked me why I have bumps on my neck. Sumran told him they must be allergies. I had no idea I had bumps on my neck.

Finally, the students lost interest in the game. Some of the girls wandered over to the parallel bars where some boys from the public sector were standing. I told them class is not over. Kevin told me class ended five minutes ago. I told him no it didn’t. “Yes, Teacher,” he told me “Class is over.” At long last, I hear the circus music and go back to the building.

Once I got back to my desk, I realized the next class period had begun. I told an Anne that I kept telling the students class was not over when it was. She laughed.

Mary and I were set to pick up fruit on the East campus. She was in the library waiting. I told her I thought that class was still going on for the last ten minutes and that is why I am late getting to the library. She told me no big deal. We left for the East Campus. At the guard house, the friendly guard said something to us. We were not sure what he was talking about. Mary’s Chinese is probably better than mine. He pointed to something in the office. We looked. There were 12 bags of fruit –six bags of oranges, six bags of pears. Our fruit was brought to us. I stuffed my fruit in my backpack and walked home. Later I made a big pitcher of fruit tea. All is quiet on West campus.


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