Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Hartland Sundries, 2
Day Two in Hartland, Mich., talking about The Call of the Wild and Jack London as part of the Big Read program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1. I forgot to mention something from yesterday. When I tried to log onto the wireless at the Best Western here, the program would not take me to the login page. Problem. Needed wireless. But the young, very competent manager came to the room, and he got on the phone with the tech people, and about 20 min later I was online and sailing away. Some kind of glitch--certainly not some problem with the Old Guy in the room, right?
2. Today, I spent pretty much the entire day at the middle school, and let me say: I'd forgotten what it was like to spend all day in a middle school, though I spent nearly 30 years doing precisely that. I'd misunderstood, thinking I would be visiting five classes of seventh grade English students, but, no, I was doing five presentations in the auditorium and five groups of about 90 youngsters each!
And the remote was not working too well, so, after introducing myself and saying a few general things about London, I went to the back where the projector was and showed slides and talked about London--his life, his books.
Had a good time, actually. The kids were great--attentive, respectful (far more than I was capable of at age 12)--and during the one free period I had + lunch, I "talked shop" with some of the faculty, talking about testing and other issues they're dealing with far more than I had to in my career (I retired in January 1997).
And let me say: Based on what I saw and heard today, there are still lots of committed middle school teachers out there, young (and older) men and women throwing themselves into the lives and learning of their students. I was proud to have once been among them. And I was heartened ...
3. Oh, but the "action" in the halls, the pre/early-adolescent costume party--it was fun to see. Much has changed; much has not. Still lots of frantic energy, swarms of kids trying to figure out where--and how--they "fit in." Raging hormones ... You know ...
4. But, oh, am I tired!
5. I have the rest of the evening off and will spend it in bed, reading. Tomorrow morning I go in to do three presentations for 8th graders in the morning--then afternoon recovery time before addressing a group of (mostly?) adults at the local library about The Call of the Wild. I'll crash afterward, then drive home early on Friday.
6. Texted and spoke with Joyce a couple of times, and she is the reason, of course, I cannot wait to get home.