When it comes to form, I like to switch things up. I’m sure you’ve noticed (whoever you are anyways, it seems no one reads this anymore, and that is fine with me. It’s like being in the woods. You can cuss or say whatever you want in the woods because no one is there to hear you.) I am switching things up once again, quitting all of this spiritual talk, and giving you (yes you) a purely journalistic entry on middle school.
This last week was very fun. Here are some of the crazy things that happened:
• I had to babysit an 8 foot black rat snake in class on friday
• I sent three kids to in school suspension last week
• I totally fooled my kids with a really mean pop quiz. Since they did so poorly meeting the deadline for finishing their projects, I told them all to put away their books, get out a piece of scrap paper, and get ready to take a replacement quiz. On the quiz, the directions clearly said: “Read all the way through the questions before you begin to answer any of them.” I told the students to read the directions and then begin. But within 30 seconds, nearly all of the students had begun scribbling on their blank sheets. None of them had followed directions. On question 13, it tells students: “Now that you have read this far without beginning any of the work, you have followed the directions carefully. Disregard the next two questions and go back to number three. Complete number three and complete no others.” The students who wrote their name and the month on the top of their papers got 100s. Everyone else failed.
• I invited my friend Andrew Simmons to have lunch with me at middle school. Simmons is a cadet in the ROTC program here at UVA, and is also a brother of mine in phi delt. He sounded very excited when I invited him to middle school, so I asked him if he would like to be a guest speaker in my class. Actually, I told him that he would be giving a speech regardless of his answer. He accepted the offer and told me he would come to school dressed in his full camouflage uniform.
That morning, I got an email from AH which read: “Harrison, be advised that today is a faculty costume day. We are all wearing camo. Bring some if you got it.”
The odds were too small. Simmons fit like a glove when he arrived on the scene. We had a lovely lunch at the losers table, eating our brown corn, mystery pizza and fruit cup from the lunch line, and then we stood at the hall and took away students’ recess if they were talking as they walked by. Simmons gave an award winning speech on loving poetry despite being in the military. He is, after all, a man who can kill from over 300 yards away yet still writes poems. He touched on Achilles, William Wallace, and other famous war heroes who loved epic poetry. He taught the kids the greek word for “create” and told them that in 30 years the clothes and shoes they are wearing won’t matter, but what they spent their time creating would. He concluded by saying “you have been waiting your whole life to do this – BIG!” and then left them to their craft. I was floored.
• After we wrote poetry with a prompt I gave them, this is a poem a student came up with. I told him that it was extremely good, but I completely disagreed with him. Anyways, here it is:
“Poetry is the worst thing in the world
It is very boring, you don’t learn
All you have to do is rhyme rhyme rhyme rhyme rhyme!
Poetry is for really smart people
It is something that doesn’t take you anywhere in life
It has no points, it’s like briers – it hurts!
It is very dry, it has no signal in life
It doesn’t have any shine, it never rises
You can’t write a poem on a cloth
A poem is very frosty, you can’t coil up in a poem
I wish a baby would crawl over and poop on a poem
It should also fall into a fire
You should remember that poetry stinks”
My reaction: Dear CM. I don’t know what to say. This is the best poem in the class. It is also the worst poem in the class. You should submit it to “Awake and Dreaming.” But it stinks. Poetry stinks, remember?