Monday, September 15, 2008

I don't know what to call this post

Casting stones into pond
ripples out negative space
wasted energy

Teaching poetry the next couple weeks. I gleaned about 30 books from the Gail Borden Library for my students to look through. They've got to pick a poem and read it before the class Thursday and Friday. I gave them short tutorials on how to present certain poems. Orality is a huge part of my teaching technique. I tell my students, instead of memorizing a bunch of grammar rules, read their writing aloud and place the punctuation where there are natural pauses in the speech. This works for grammar and poetry and just about anything else.

Just... listen....

The freaky freshmen like e.e. cummings and Tupac Shakur. They can sense the rebel ethos mixed with childlike wonder in both men.

Teaching is going great. My greatest gift is fostering a sense of community and wonder in the students. I don't know if I could teach my techniques to others because success depends on intangibles, like facial expressions and picking up on visual clues like folder doodles and hair styles. It also means making leaders out of the class clowns and trouble makers, giving respectful space to the sullen and withdrawn, respecting boundaries, but stretching imaginations. And most of all, loving the material and infecting them with my enthusiasm.

My personal life is in shambles. My son hardly acknowledges me and clings to his mother. I treat him the same way I treat cats -- hands off -- and let him come around to me. But I don't exist to him. That's harsh and not really true, but I feel that way sometimes. Yes, I know it's just the old Oedipal drama playing itself out, but it's tough to deal with rejection from a toddler. It's so utter and pure.

I don't know anybody in Elgin. Sure, I live in a wonderful house in the woods, but I dread the quiet sometimes, especially in stark contrast to the tumult of my day. Most of the time I'm fine with the solitude. Back in DeKalb, if I ever got a hankering for company, I just needed to walk around campus or visit the old drunks at the rooming house -- there was ALWAYS somebody to talk to. But in Elgin, if I get lonely I guess I'll have to go to a bar. Except I've been broke since I plunked down everything I had (and then some) to pay first month's rent and security deposit on my place. And I'm not much of a drinker. And bar talk is boring.

Time will secure connections. I plan to join a choir, band, or environmental group. I may take a dancing class or, egads, start going to church again. These are all the conventional means of making new connections, and I've done it before. I'm just feeling a little jaded and cynical lately, not a recipe for social success.

Maybe I should just get used to this solitude and become a hermit.

Isn't that the fate of most high school English teachers? Don't they just disappear to caves at the end of the day?

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