A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Ahhhh, spring! In which I "go all literary and stuff," to quote one of my students

T. S. Eliot had it right. But I'd like to update his opening lines a bit, if I may:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow....

Line 1: There are about eight weeks left of school, so let the bargains with God -- or teachers-- be made. Who else out there is suddenly getting phone calls and demands for meetings from parents of students that you haven't seen all year? Anyone? Or is it just me? And then there's the whole crisis enveloping many of my seniors over the fat envelopes versus the skinny envelopes lying like coiled cobras in their mailboxes. And breeding makes me think of prom. I wonder why.

Line 2: "Lilacs..." I wish that kid in the front row would stop wearing so much Hollister cologne. Although it does help cover up the scent of mildew in my room from the perpetually leaking roof. Let's call it a draw.

Line 3: "Memory and desire"... once again, how many little cads will dump girls the day after prom or conveniently forget their phone numbers? Last year my shoulder was sodden from all the sobbing.

Line 4: "dull roots"... And there's only two more chances to raise that ACT score, and four weeks to prepare for the AP exam! Hooray! What part of the Constitution is about the judiciary, again? Oh, and this week is standardized testing, courtesy of the fine folks in Washington! And we've got so much "spring rain" that the levees are straining, so enough already, God. Please send some of that to Georgia, before they try to annex the entire state of Tennessee.

Line 5: If winter kept you warm, you obviously don't work in a school. Unless the fevers from all the sick kids coming up and hacking all over your desk kept you warm. I redid my seating chart four times in six weeks just trying the keep the sick kids who insist on coming to class all quarantined in one corner. Yech.

Line 6: "Forgetful snow"... I had a kid come to me with a floppy mass of cardboard and wood pulp that was formerly known as a textbook. Guess who left his book out on the back porch... for three days? He actually wanted to know if he would be charged for the damage, I guess because he figured it was an act of nature-- kind of like the people who expect me (which is what "US government" actually means) to bail them out of their foreclosures because they didn't know that ARM meant something other than what Nolan Ryan had.

It really is a waste land, right now.



At 4/9/08, 8:57 PM, Blogger Dan Edwards said...

B I N G O !

At 4/9/08, 9:31 PM, Blogger Valerie Roberson said...

What a perfect poem for this time of year. You said it so perfectly!

At 4/10/08, 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to laugh about the textbook. I have seen some doozies. Usually, the kid doesn't have any idea of what could have happened to the book. It is never his fault.

At 4/10/08, 10:34 PM, Blogger Friar said...

A friend and I used to have a phrase which we used to dismiss people who were annoying the heck out of us:

"People like you make me wish for more chaperones on prom night."

I haven't used that in some time -- not very pastoral. But sometimes still very appropriate.


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