Monday, August 13, 2007

I Love School!!

It happens every year around this time. I start jonesing for school. I love the beginning of a new school year, all the fresh opportunities. I know I am a geek, but I always loved registering for classes, especially in college, planning exactly what to take when and how to space out all the classes so I wasn't having to write papers for all 5 classes. (This is an occupational hazard of English majors. That and having to pay an arm and a leg for textbooks and Shakespeare anthologies, and later chiropractic bills to reverse damage induced by carrying all those expensive books.) My mom used to joke that I would be a student forever if I could make a living at it.

Which I guess is partly why I became a teacher. Here was a chance to decide not just what classes to teach, but also what material I would use. It was heaven. Also, I was lucky to have taught at an alternative school where the principal was very supportive of bringing in unorthodox teaching methods and materials. My very favorites were the Drama classes, in which we read most of August Wilson's works. He is the most amazing contemporary playwright and it was incredible to teach those plays. If you have never heard of him, you should seriously check out one of his plays. (If you are a first timer, I would suggest starting with "Fences" or "The Piano Lesson." Wilson won Pulitzers for both of those plays) He wrote a cycle of 10 plays, one for each decade of the twentieth century, each depicting the black man's struggles. The beauty of these plays, however, is that his themes transcend race and time. Anyone can relate to something in his plays, I believe.

I was incredibly lucky to have had a chance to hear him speak in Chicago about 2 years before his death. Wilson is one of my heroes, completely brilliant, but he is a high school dropout, which made him an easy writer for most of my students to relate to.

I think I may take out some of his plays and reread them. Maybe it will comfort me a bit when school starts.


William said...

I remember it well. That event at CSO where August Wilson spoke was indeed amazing, I remember I was trying to come up with some brilliant question that related to his experience in the military.

About the only thing I could think of was the injustice of the Vietnam War, and how it tied into some of his themes of American Imperialism. So he calls on me and I heard myself say: "What did being in the service teach you about Neocolonialism?"

His response was quick and simple: "When I was in the service, I had no concept of what Neocolonialism was."
Not quite the discussion I was looking for, but certainly unpretentious, like his writing.

No that he's dead, I can't help but wish I had asked him something else.

elizabetsy said...

I like you love school, but for completly different reasons. I enjoy the school supplies. I hord them actually. I just love to smell of new pencils in a box, and the pounds of crisp new paper. And the .20 glue sticks that are normally 1.50 for the pack. And don't forget about those wooden rulers I don't know why I love it I just do. I guess its a good thing I have four kids. I have an excuse to buy it.