Statistics and crime map…
May 03 Published in Remembrance, Reflections by Purple
This is a continuation of my journal from my 2001-2002 school year. Please read the previous posts to give this entry context. I’ve been in Kauai and have gotten behind (poor me!).
Wednesday – April 24
“We came for the free education,” Evelia said today when she walked in.
Today I shot off this e-mail:
Last night the English Department met until five p.m. Like many departments, we were focused on the standards, how they connect to the SAT 9 and HSEE scores, and the implications for our curriculum. On the next minimum day, we are scheduled to continue this work.
In the meantime, I read, buried on the third page on an inside section of the Chronicle, that the State Board of Education opted yesterday to switch from Harcourt’s SAT 9 test to the California Achievement Test administered by Educational Testing Service. This is not something that might happen; the deal is done.
Naturally, “school officials . . . are skeptical that the state will make a smooth transition between tests—a big worry because the stakes for schools are so high.”
As we continue our dance to testing, we should realize the State has changed the tune.
On the bright side, at the meeting I learned the students may only have to carry, not wear, their ID’s.
Last year when my student teacher finished his time, he gave me a Oriental lily. I like the exotic blossoms, but not the pungent fragrance. Still, when the lily finished blooming, I planted it in my flower garden. I just don’t believe living things should be thrown away. The plant thrived and this year I have been cutting extravagant stems for my classroom.
This morning a colleague admired the stippled pink blooms.
“When I look at them, I feel guilty for bad-mouthing him.
You mean The Big Baby?” she asked.
“The Big Baby.” The perfect caption. He was so big and soft; vulnerable and immature.
Raymond came in today and announced, “I’m going to make a simile. It’s as cold as an iceberg.”
I handed back the students essays on a character from Romeo & Juliet. Everyone but Roberto and Raymond turned one in.
Raymond is disappointed that he didn’t get recommended for college prep, but what can he expect at this rate? I feel like I should call Roberto’s mom, but I imagine she’s at wit’s end, and how much does she want to hear, again, that her son is not doing his work?
On the bright side, the students are getting the idea of theses statements, transitions and support.
The Affectionate, Courageous, Rebellious Juliet
Juliet is a well-known character from the play Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare. In the beginning of the play Juliet comes off as being a sympathetic, innocent, and lovesick character. But towards the end of the ply her whole personality unravels and you start to see the real Juliet. Out of all the different moods and traits Juliet expressed throughout the play there were three that I thought stood out. They were affectionate, courageous, and rebellious.
First of all, Juliet is a very affectionate person towards Romeo. For instance, Juliet loved Romeo so much that being enemies couldn’t break apart their love for each other. Their love was so strong that Juliet and Romeo agreed to get married. Furthermore, Juliet killed herself for Romeo by stabbing herself with a dagger.
In addition to being affectionate, Juliet is very courageous. For example, Juliet stood up to her parents and argued “ . . . I will not marry yet; and when I do, I swear it shall be Romeo, . . . .” Then, later on Juliet lied to her parents and tolled them she was going to Friar Lawrence’ cell to confess and that she will marry Paris. Also, Juliet drank a vial of potion without even knowing what it contained.
Finally, Juliet is a rebellious person. For instance, Juliet married Romeo even though they were enemies and their parents would have disagreed with it if they knew about the marriage in the beginning. Furthermore, Juliet tolled her parents she would not marry Paris even though the wedding was already scheduled and Juliet’s parents were urging her to.
In conclusion you can see that Juliet is a person who has to have everything her way. Juliet doesn’t care what other people think. Everything has to be the way Juliet wants it or Juliet won’t agree with it or do it.
The Saturday Chronicle had two front-page stories about campus violence, the Erfurt, Germany shooting rampage, killing seventeen, with the suicide of the shooter, and the trial of DeGuzman, the young man who planned to bomb De Anza College.
It’s eerie that we just had our drill.
Monday, April 29
Pam Barrington is dead. She’s a social studies teacher, only a few years older than I am. I don’t know her well; we’ve spoken only a dozen times in our nineteen years as colleagues. Yet, she’s part of my daily landscape. It felt like a blow to the solar plexus when a colleague told me the news. The death was apparently a home accident.
When I think of all that has happened this year, it seems dramatic. But it’s probably only an average year. This same colleague’s partner was savagely beaten to death by four teenagers in 1998.
A pall of gloom has settled on my life. I think of the ending of Romeo and Juliet: “A glooming peace this morning with it brings. The sun for sorrow will not show his head.”
To heighten the sadness, last week Lola figured out that by hunkering along the planks that edge our yard, she could remain hidden from birds coming to the bath. Splashing and ruffling, the birds didn’t hear the stir of gravel as she pounced. She killed the Mama bird.
It broke our hearts to see the male bird hopping around the nest, looking for his mate. But that isn’t the worst. Even though we gave away the bath and bought a new hanging one, word got out in the bird community. Our yard, once a bird haven, is silent. Some new young bird checked out the deserted nest, but abandoned the idea. The feeder is unvisited. Empty.
In the meantime, Bernie Yew, another colleague, gave birth to a premature baby girl. Life goes on. Our campus is large enough to embrace the whole cycle of it.
The attendance specialist caught me in the office and told me that an angry parent had been in on Friday after school because I’d kept his daughter for detention and she’d missed her bus. I promised to call and to smooth his feathers. I felt glad that this was Brook’s dad, the parent I’d seen and hailed at Open House.
He didn’t seem angry at all, very supportive, in fact. He’d just been worried because Brook hadn’t contacted him. Her cell phone had been on the fritz. He hadn’t known where she was.
During the conversation, he mentioned that Brook’s mom had committed suicide last year.
Tuesday - Post Romeo and Juliet
I didn’t see sixth period today because we had a block schedule to accommodate more testing. Today first, second and third met. Tomorrow fourth, fifth, and sixth periods meet.
In the wake of Romeo and Juliet, we’ve been studying coordinate and subordinate conjunctions, dependent and independent clauses, compound and complex sentences, and how to fix run-ons, all interconnected ideas. Every student who took the first quiz passed it.
I received exciting news. I had eleven different students selected for publication in the anthology from the Santa Cruz Countywide High School Poetry Competition. Actually, one is my former student Mark, who was published last year. He came to see me about submitting poems this year. He won third place.
Most of the poets are in my third period class, but Diana’s “Shining Stars” (included earlier) and Chad’s “Breeze” (included earlier) were both selected. There will be a reading on May 23rd in Santa Cruz. I hope that I can get some of the students to attend. I think it will be easier because I have so many authors. Hopefully I can find a parent or two who would be willing to bring a carload of kids to the event.