His Father’s Son. (Also: Collaboration.)

Posted on October 19, 2010Filed Under Guest artist, Me, St. Mel's, Tips | Leave a Comment

This past weekend was my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary party. (I was the firstborn son, so you can do the math as far as age is concerned.)  I actually drove to Sacramento for the weekend. It all went smoothly. I’ll spare you the recap, except…

Before the party on Saturday night, there was a renewal of vows ceremony at the church. Near the end of the ceremony, the priest called for the four brothers and their families to come up and group around the original happy couple. So we’re all crowded around up in front of the church, and the priest does a blessing of some sort. Then there’s a lull, a moment of quiet…

BRRRRRRRAPPPP.

My 11 year old boy rips a nice, loud one.

I’m just going to leave that hanging for a minute, while I flash you back almost 40 years. Little mrC is in about 5th grade at St. Mel’s, and he and his friends are getting a little fidgety and giggly in Mass. Sr. Enda turns around and gives us the Exorcist stare, and whispers through clenched teeth that we need to show more respect in the House of the Lord.

We last about five minutes.

This time she’s on us before we know she’s there. Now the look is more like a possessed Linda Blair. We are about to be scared into silence, when she says, in her best Gaelic accent with spit flying everywhere,

“…IN THE HOUSE OF GOD!”

Needless to say, we exploded into uncontrollable laughter. Hello? We’re in 5th grade. You can’t just scream something like that at us and not expect us to die laughing.

Two nuns each grabbed two ears apiece, and the four of us were escorted from…

THE HOUSE OF GOD!

It’s been a catchphrase in my family ever since.

Now we’re back to Saturday night. The way we were arranged up there, only half the family heard the explosion. So now we have half of the family expiring with laughter with tears in their eyes, and the other half  (including my PU’s) frowning at those of us who are giggling…

IN THE HOUSE OF GOD!

Like father, like son.

I got back late Sunday having done nothing to get ready for Monday, and was thinking I might use our extra time before school–it being late-start schedule. D’oh. They actually scheduled a collaboration “event.” We were to travel out to our sister school (15 minutes away for those who drive), to spend 45 minutes collaborating with their English teachers, and then drive back.

They didn’t tell us what to talk about or what, exactly, to do. Luckily, two of their English teachers also teach home ec, and the snacks were tasty, so it wasn’t a total loss. Mostly we sat and lamented the emphasis on testing, while talking about our various tests…and ate snacks.

Sort of a reluctant circle time.

But two of theirs each shared a quick “what’s been working lately for me” thing, both of which made me laugh.

Mrs. T was talking about how she was trying to get her kids to be a little more mindful of the presentation of their essays. You know, with no spiral  notebook tendrils hanging off, no cross-outs or or hastily scrawled  corrections/additions, etc. Just a little class, so to speak. She told her kids,

“I want you, when you turn in a paper to me, to sort of be like, well, you know, taking a little pride in your work…like this…”

At this point she stands up, and cradling a prop essay in her hands, she curtsies, presenting the paper, as she bows her head saying,

“I made this for you Mrs. T. I hope you enjoy it.”

General laughter all ’round. But it seems that many of her students took this to heart. Now it’s sort of a regular thing in her class: the bowing and the presenting of papers.

I like it, but with TCS I have, they would do the whole presenting thing, and still give me something they scrawled on the back of their science homework as they rode the bus to school.

Mr. P (who has previously graced these pages) then shares a similar sort of shtick. One of the things he has been focusing on lately has been making sure the kids write everything in their planners (I call them assignment books). He told about how his kids were all grumpy every time he told them to get out their planners to write something in them. One day he said,

“You know, every time you use your planner, your teachers hear the angels sing.” And here he does a sort of  falsetto “whaaaaaaaaaaaa” kind of thing. Et voila! It’s a thing in his class. Every time he asks them to pull out their planners, there’s an angelic chorus.

I like it. Of course, in my class, since I give the whole week’s homework on Monday, I would only get to hear the heavenly choir once a week.

Hmmm. Maybe I should rethink that.

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