We finished Act 3 the other day. All the kids were disturbed by Hamlet’s turn on Ophelia, but they were not really prepared for his tirade against Gertrude.
We get to the point, after Polonius is dead, when Hamlet sees his father and does an abrupt switch from madness to docility (“How are you, mother?”) and then one student starts singing, “You look like an angel, walk like an angel, talk like an angel, but I got wise… you’re the devil in disguise…”
I think I said something like, “You know, Hamlet does need a little more Elvis.” She looked at me, bemused, “I didn’t even know I was singing it out loud…” I said, “That’s OK. I don’t know which is more exciting: that I know the songs my students sing in class or that there are still teenagers who like AC/DC and Elvis!”
I’m overwhelmed with sadness and worry right now and this is the only place I can think of to talk about it.
I just found out that one of my former students was in a serious car accident earlier this month; he’s been in a coma but has recently begun to improve.
He is this student. He dropped out in the spring of his senior year and we lost touch, but he will always be close to my heart. If you’re a praying sort of person, please lift him and his family up.
During a lull in the our reading of “Hamlet” the other day, one of my students started singing “I’m on the highway to hell…” I don’t remember what lines we just read, but I do recall thinking, ‘that kind of fits!’
I smiled and asked her, “So you like AC/DC?” She grinned and did a superman move with her hoodie revealing an AC/DC t-shirt. “Yeah,” she said, “I think I’m a fan!”
I knew it was just a matter of time before my school life intruded in my private life, but after three years of relative anonymity, the last few days were rather shocking…
On Tuesday, I ordered from my favorite take-out place and opened my door to… a former student. I was fully dressed, but not exactly looking my best and as we were chatting he totally scoped out my apartment over my shoulder and asked “So, do you live alone?” I admit that I checked my chimney out before I went to bed lol.
And then today I went through their drive through and guess who was working the window? He yelled, “ARE YOU STALKING ME?!” To which I replied, “You know, I used to really love this place, but now that I know you are working here…” He laughed and said, “Whatever. I know where you live… you better start sleeping with one eye open!” And my witty retort? “Thanks for bringing it back to a creepy place, dude.”
He yelled, “YOU’RE WELCOME” and then walked away from the window, but I could hear part of his convoluted explanation to his co-workers, “She was one of my teachers…”
And to end the night… the most boring part of teaching on the first day is giving the same speech to every class. “Be on time. Be respectful. Do your work” etc.
But what made the first day of school awesome was one of my juniors spiced up my monologue on attendance by firmly announcing (preaching, really) to the class “Don’t disrespect yourself by being late. We’re here to learn!”
One of my juniors is sat in front of me this at the beginning of August as his technical school program didn’t start until the following week. Last year, he’d insisted on being in the morning program and he never told me why, until today…
Him: You know why I wanted AM Tech?
Me: Nope. Why?
Him: Because if I’m there in the morning, I won’t have to go to any of the assemblies here. You know, like the awards assembly.
Me: (surprised, but uncontrollable laughter)
Him (serious, with eye-brow raised): Miss. I am NOT getting any more awards.
Me: (almost crying, I’m laughing so hard)