Teaching as performance: an essay elsewhere

When I set out to write, produce and perform my original one woman show about the classroom experiences of a Minneapolis French teacher, Pardon My French, for the Minnesota Fringe Festival last summer, I had three goals that would help me know I’d been successful:

  1. Have fun
  2. Have supportive friends in the audience
  3. Avoid puking on my shoes in front of everyone

. . .

Find out what teaching and performance have in common over at the Minnesota Playlist

Hey summertime! C’mere and gimme a kiss!

There will be cloud gazing this summer.

Oh friends! My wonderful blessed summer vacation that I’ve been dreaming about for months is finally here. As the final bell of the 2010-11 school year rang out at 3:00 p.m. yesterday, I was on the balcony making sure the kids didn’t do their traditional “dump all of the papers from their backpacks onto the commons floor below” thing. The security roundup worked in my area, but I think that could be because I was standing near our school liaison officer. That blue shirt and shiny star badge are pretty impressive – especially since he’s one of the nicest guys ever. The other faculty and myself shepherded the kids down the stairs and out the door before extensive vandalism seemed like a good idea, and I went back to my room to face the stack of finals I have yet to finish grading.

All of the negative press teachers got during the Union crisis in WI must have left everyone thinking that “all summer off” must mean that we teachers are all sporting swimsuits and drinking frothy daiquiris at the beach from the minute we hand in our keys. I know none of MY fair readers would think that I’m a frothy daiquiri drinker and the little lake beaches here are filled with the kids I just sent off into the world, so I’ll bet you’re curious about what we do with our 10 weeks of unstructured time. Wanna know what teachers do during the summer? We do more work. For free. Or in some cases, for a small fee we’ve paid for the privilege of being trained.

Week of June 13th – 4 days of teacher training.
Week of June 20th – 4 days of summer school substitute teaching.
Week of July 18th – 2 more days of teacher training
Week of August 1st – 3 more days of teacher training
and back to work on August 19th. Ploof!

Boy does summer go fast when you look at it that way. I do have a few weeks of intense writing time, a road trip to Toronto and Montreal with my dad, my 20 year HS reunion, and a handful of visits with friends planned, so I’m not complaining. I’m more baffled at myself for setting it up that way – but I do like to keep busy. After spending all day every day with at least 130 people, summer can feel very isolating and lonely — well, after I’ve slept for a week and caught up on my rest, which should happen the week of June 27th – except that’s the week that my best friend, my surrogate husband, and my goddaughter are moving out of state. I’ve scheduled that week for a long round of alternating denial and weeping. Gnashing of teeth and rending of garments may also make an appearance, as I’m the dramatic sort.

So anyway. I just wanna give sloppy smooches to summer right now. I have to stop writing this post so I can get to school before the staff breakfast and finish my grades. My goal is to finish grading and packing up by 12:30 – all the better to enjoy my afternoon lunch date and workout session before I go to a retirement party. w00t!