The end of the school year brings constant conflict. Not just conflict with students about grades or about their waning energy and effort, but the increasingly difficult battle with myself over my waning energy, effort, and motivation. Being someone who firmly believes in setting a good example, I’m sorely tested by my lack of interest in anything school related.
I know that I cannot charge my students with study or preparation on their own because character analysis will quickly devolve into BMI charting or the creation of and assignation of attributes to a character called Danny Dorito. Yet I really, really, really, really want to just let them go while I distract myself. I’d so much rather be listing the dishes (tortilla espagnola, caprese salad, pasta pesto, etc…) for the party on Saturday. (Why, oh why, did I offer to host a party after being out of town the two previous weekends? Because I’m overly optimistic about my abilities and energy just like my students, that’s why. Oh well, my brother-in-law gave me a case of wine just for the party.) So, while I could investigate this stranger who wants to be my Facebook friend (just say no), or peruse the Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren sale items on Shop It To Me, or see what’s left on Nordstrom Rack, I force myself to get up and guide a discussion on the how the past affects the present in our three novels. It helps. They start to focus their thinking and ask important questions, and I start to focus my thinking to give proper responses that guide them to their own ideas. Then we move to the theme of atonement in the three novels. We’re doing our work in spite of ourselves–rushing slowly to June 11.
Wish me luck for the next class.