We  finally had a regular schedule today (54 minute periods). Monday was our weekly TCT (Teacher Collaboration Time)/Late Start Schedule (43 minute periods – the kids start at 9:30 instead of 8:20; not as collaborative as hoped) and yesterday we had the ASB election assembly (assembly schedule: 47 minute periods).

(Aside) As ASB election assemblies in junior high go, this one was pretty good. But… Back in the day (2 years ago), when we actually still had a full time drama teacher on staff (she retired after almost 30 years and they didn’t replace her), the election assembly was always jazzed up with short skits that promoted recycling or previewed the upcoming production. I really miss those skits, as well as having actual drama classes at our school. NCLB. Bah.

So this year, it was the usual intros by the “campaign managers” (I keep waiting for one of them to bring the candidate a towel, or fan him Elvis stylie, during the speech), and then strings of empty promises (more activities, loosened cell phone restrictions, soda machines, “listening to your ideas”). But most of them were relatively well prepared, and one even quoted Gandhi and JFK. There was the obligatory short candidate, with the attendant loud microphone adjusting amid laughter, and a good intro that asked for a “drumroll please.” 450 seventh graders pounding their knees.It was actually kinda cool.

Anyway, we finally had enough time for me to return the Messy Room essays. And we finally got started on chapter three. Which brings us to the question from last year’s entry, “Which one is the real you?” (Excerpted from last September.)

We finished chapter two, and charged into chapter three today. We talked about foreshadowing with Johnny and the knife he now carries (after the flashback to his mugging), and foreshadowing again with, “I know better now,” at the end of chapter two. (See how easy it is to teach those kinds of terms with this book?) Then we get to how Cherry can actually open up to Pony, unlike around her “friends” and how she always has to keep up an image. I stopped there and asked them, “How many of you are a different person around your parents from the one you are around your friends?” Most of them raised their hands. “How many of you are yet a different person around Gramma?” Most hands again. “How many of you are a different person when you are by yourself?” Same. Same. Maybe even more. “So. Which one is the real you?” You can almost see the steam coming out of their ears. “So, you’re faking it for Mom and Gramma? Or are you faking it for your friends? …How many of you have said you liked something when you really didn’t (like Cherry admitting to Pony she doesn’t really think river-bottom parties are cool), just because your friends said they liked it?” More sheepish hands. “And so, picture Cherry, a Socy cheerleader. A popular Socy cheerleader. She has a certain image she HAS to keep up. Certain things she has to say, certain people she should talk to, certain things she should like. She’s sorta trapped, isn’t she?” I saw quite a few light bulbs going on.