Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Have you ever woken up at 1:35 in the morning, suddenly wide awake, realizing that earlier that evening you said something unbelievable stupid? And now there's not a thing you can do about it?
Tonight was parent’s night at the school. Parents and students came around, doing a fast version of the student's daily school schedule. Teachers can talk about what to expect in that class, and how the parents can best help their children.
Two parents, new to the school, came early while everyone else was still in the auditorium. The mother had come to talk to me last spring, considering our school, and asking how I challenged the bright students in my classes. She mentioned that she taught writing at the U of M. Over the summer, I considered her question. I don't really do anything to challenge the brighter students, and I realized it's because I'm already teaching at a high level. My problem is making allowances, modifying tests, and creating extra credit assignments for the students who can't handle the level of challenge already in place.
Anyway, I now had my chance to say this. And I did.
They tried to get their son to say something in response to this, but he wasn't being communicative - typical of a freshman guy. I said my son was like that -- kind of a... [I tried to think of the right word]... lugubrious guy. The father wanted to know what that word meant and I said it meant responding with as few words as possible - a word from our Tale of Two Cities vocabulary.
"Oh," he said. Laconically.
Soooo at 1:35 AM I wake up, and suddenly I think, "I wanted LACONIC, not lugubrious, which actually means the opposite."
I'm sure the father realized that and now is chuckling all the way home and thinking what an idiot his son's English teacher is.
Why couldn't he just correct me?
I also realized that I was talking too fast. I think it might have had something to do with that big glass of ice tea I had before all this, and my nervousness as I met the parents, who, ultimately, are your judge and jury.
I wish it was still summer. Or maybe I need a different job. One where all I have to remember to say is “Would you like paper or plastic, Sir?”