I've had three lessons in a row go really, really well in my reading classes. This is unusual--highly unusual. I've started the kids on writing exercises that relate to their reading, and even those have gone well. Today's lesson was exceptional, with busy scribbling right up until the bell rang.

My theater class has been reading A Raisin in the Sun. I'd forgotten what a powerful third act that play has, and when we read it today, the moment was powerful and consuming and heavy. It was absolutely amazing.

My English class finished up Romeo and Juliet. They fought me at first, and they complained EVERY SINGLE DAY--"Do we HAVE to read it today?"--but when we read the last line, they actually applauded. Now, the jury's still out on their motivation, but I choose to believe it's because they actually liked it. As a matter of fact, my Big Mouth has made it a point to say that she loves the play and she was disappointed when I was absent and they couldn't read it; when I announced today that we would be finishing it, she said, "Noooooooooo! I don't want it to be over!"

My speech class is currently studying informal communication. We began yesterday with a lesson on How to Give Directions.

"Isn't this just common sense?" asked my Quasi-Hoodlum.

"You'd think, wouldn't you?" I replied. "But take a look around you."

"Good point," he said.

We ended with an activity in which teams of students told each other how to get to their houses, using proper direction-giving rules, of course. Some got it, and others did not, including one girl whose directions included, "Go down until you get to SSSSSSSSSS's mama's house, then go to that one church and turn left, no right, no left, and then go to FFFFFFFFF's house (do you know where that is?) and look down the road and you're there."

"I think my eyes crossed while you were talking," I said. "You messed my brain up."

"Nobody ever comes to my house," she said.

I shot back, "Not on purpose, that's for sure."

The lesson ended with the Full Hoodlum, who's skipped class numerous times, asked other students for cigarette money during class, and who has EARNED a zero by putting his name on papers and turning them in otherwise blank, offered to give directions to his house.

"Wait," I said. "Let me write this down for the police."

His average increased substantially ... to a 5.

Today I had the first rehearsal for the play some of my kids are going to do for elementary schools in our county. They're booked for three, with a dress rehearsal at an after-school program, and I've got calls out to two other schools. I really want them to have a great experience with this, since this is the first time most of them have done a play.

We're doing a modified version of Jack and the Beanstalk. Our Cow was absent today, so I had to be her understudy. Yeah, I know. But the rehearsal went well, and the kids were enthusiastic, and the play is going to be really, really good, with the perfect amount of slapstick and nonsense for elementary students.

The high school play is also going well. We've missed three rehearsals because of my health issues, but the kids have kept on track and we're not that far behind at all. I've gotten to do some shopping for costumes and props, which is one of my favorite parts of the whole production. It's a cast of six, and three of them are totally new to the stage. But it's the best mix of kids, and by that, I mean that they do not annoy each other OR me (which is far more important); when one volunteers six hours of her personal television-watching time, it helps when she actually LIKES the people she's working with.

So it's been a great week-and-a-half. I've gotten mostly caught up from my absences, had some surprisingly good days, and have almost convinced my students that school is fun.

And now I've jinxed myself.

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