We return to school tomorrow after the holiday break. This was a short break – Christmas falling on a Sunday does that – but it felt sufficient, nonetheless. I’m not sure I’m 100% ready to go back, but then again, I rarely feel 100% ready after a vacation.
My freshmen should come to class tomorrow with a workshop-able draft of a creative writing piece, and my seniors should arrive with the same of their analysis work on The Help. I expect a significant number of kids to not have those things, though – despite my having reminded them on facebook to have their papers with them – so I’m lining up a short story exercise for the little kids and the chapter on literary analysis from one of my favorite textbooks, The Curious Writer, for the big kids.
The juniors are working on an artist biography, a bit of work inspired by our most recent read, My Name is Asher Lev. I’m reasonably sure that all the kids have at least SOMETHING to work with when we meet again on Wednesday.
This month is going to be spent prepping for our school’s Poetry Out Loud competition; as soon as I get in on Tuesday, I need to meet with the headmistress to see about lining up judges for the competition that I’ve scheduled for the third week in January. I also need to line up new reads for each of the classes. I know that the freshmen are getting The Book Thief (I always teach that right after To Kill a Mockingbird) and the Juniors will wrestle with Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. I haven’t quite decided yet what to read with my seniors; I need to get back into my room to look at the pile I designated as senior reads before I make my decision.
I am approaching the return to classes with a kind of renewed enthusiasm. While I’d like another couple of days to sleep in, I’m eager to be with my kids again and to get back into the thinking and talking and learning that happens whenever we’re together.