Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Looking forward to a Walk in the Woods

This weekend, I'm going to New Jersey!

Yes, on purpose, and yes, that's a good thing.

I'll be visiting Trailblazers, the decentralized camp where my AmeriCorps team worked in 2002. This is the weekend that the staff begin setting everything up for the summer. (One thousand acres of bear-populated forest; eighteen small camps that need beds, linens, canvas, bear barrels, etc; structures that need rebuilding or repairing; only two or three rickety vehicles and only one manager: it all adds up to a very Herculean task that took eleven of us two full months to work on.) Therefore, this first kick-off weekend is important, because the more that volunteers get done now, the less that they'll struggle to do later. I was realizing recently that with most of NCCC in New Orleans, camps like Trailblazers may not be getting teams. That really worries me; I don't know how they can do everything without an extra ten to twelve people!

I'll probably be taking off Monday to hang around with an out-of-town Amerifriend, which is a nice joke on my students. I've assigned a final poetry project due on Monday, so this way they'll actually get an extra free day to finish it.

Those damn Hydras have been off just enough to piss me off; I gave them a good half period today to start collecting and reviewing their work to get it ready for the final project. However, almost all the class decided that they could just talk and get up and be loud and totally off task. So, because they weren't taking their classtime seriously, I decided to make them see how important it was, and I told them the project is now due on Friday, two days from today.

See, all the poems that will be in this project have already been done, either in class or as homework. So they've gotten all their work back, and many of them did things wrong, or incomplete, or not at all. The secret is that the students who kept up and did all their work correctly will have very little work to do for the project--merely recopying or typing and putting together nicely. But many students in that class do little or no work at all, which means they'll need to do a lot of work. Which is what today was for. But they ignored it.

I had to laugh that they got all pissy in response, whining that it wasn't fair for me to change the date. I said, "Not fair? NOT FAIR?! What's not FAIR is that most of you all are STILL right now not doing ANY WORK. I'm giving you time to work on these things in class and you're deciding not to. So yes, now I'm going to move the date so you'll take this classtime seriously!"

Three or four minutes later, things quieted down--somewhat--as most of the class buckled down, going through their homework folders. Harrumph.

I *may* give them a reprieve depending on how tomorrow goes. But if they act like they did today, then Friday it will be. I won't grade the 'presentation' of the poems as harshly, but it will be due.

Take that, irresponsible ones.

See why I'm looking forward to getting away? And why it's gonna be dangerous for me to start thinking about only thirty school days left in the year?

1 comment:

Miss B said...

I'm right there with you. While giving a spelling test today, and dictating the word need, I used the following sentence to help the kids with spelling, context, etc: "I really need to take a vacation."

And it was even more true once the day came to a close.

June 13 is right around the corner, thankfully.

Have a nice, relaxing time this weekend!