Up to speed
We're about a month into the new school year, and things are settling in, the names and faces are beginning to match up, students have stopped shuffling from one class to another, looking for the right balance of entertainment, percentage of friends in the class, not too much work, and hopefully near their locker.
Despite how cynical that last sentence was, I'm actually pleased with many of the students who have fallen to my lot. A good number seem to have brains, talent, curiosity, and show fair amounts of enthusiasm.
One student, a senior, has returned. He took my design class when he was a sophomore, and was very visually talented, but was such a little snot, always calling me over with a question, and managing to say something totally jerky just after I had helped him. He was about six-foot-three at the time, and I kept thinking he was a senior, and expecting him to act like a human being, but he was just incapable of it, despite his obvious intelligence. I liked him anyway, and in my usual blunt manner would frequently tease him about how awful he was, and how he couldn't even stop if he tried. He would just laugh and do or say something else jerky.
The next year, the first day of school, he waltzed into my classroom and announced, 'I'm in your class." I looked at him. "No you're not."
"Yeah I am. Really."
"Yeah I am."
He wasn't. He just needed to be jerky.
But he came in from time-to-time to use the scanner, the computer, the camera. And he was doing beautiful work. What an eye. And gradually, almost imperceptibly, he began to change. He didn't need to make the remark, or get that last annoying jab in every time. His maturity was catching up to his height. Finally one day he came in and forgot to be a jerk.
One of the final days of school last June I passed him in the hall. "I'm in your video class next year."
"You really are, aren't you?"
He's doing exquisite camerawork. And he's helping with the school paper. Today he and the head sportswriter went out to take photos for the Baseball and football articles (I wouldn't let them use internet photos). He came back with the coolest photo of home plate, covered with dusty footprints, surrounded by the ghosts of dozens more in the dirt chronicling the efforts of countless anonymous players. Another photo showed a blaze of light glinting off the football goal posts, with silhouettes of trees and a streaked sky in the background. Less original, but well done and fresh.
A few other stars are starting to emerge. I have to resist the urge to try and teach them everything all at once. I have to resist the urge to do every job on the school paper myself and make all decisions unilaterally. So far, things are good. I'd like to write more, but I'm falling asleep and I must go join my snoring herd of dogs. Hope they're left me some room on the bed