Sunday, April 29, 2012

Teenage Drama

I really enjoy supporting my students in their extracurricular pursuits and usually attend whatever I’m invited to. Two of my students were in the school’s production of Willy Wonka this weekend and one of them invited me to go. I didn’t have any weekend plans so I was more than happy to go. I wasn’t, however, thrilled about the $8 admission which seemed a bit steep for a middle school play.

My expectations for the play were very low (incredibly low, actually). Some of the performers promoted the play during the morning announcements the week prior to the performances. A lot of them had to do fake accents and they’d start out using the accent, but it would slowly fade while they were talking only to end up speaking in their normal voice. Like I said, my expectations were not high.

I invited my sister to come because I didn’t want to go alone and she was really excited to go which surprised me. I also sent out a text to a bunch of friends inviting them to come, but I really undersold the play and only Carrie came. When we got to the theater a few of my students excitedly shouted hello to me and some others looked embarrassed when I greeted them. I was happy to be seen with two pretty girls.

I was worried that the play would be so bad that it would be hard to sit through, but when it started all my worries melted away. The kid who played Wonka did a fantastic job and had what Lindsay described as “swagger.” I was a little perplexed by the makeup of Charlie’s family. Charlie’s four grandparents were all white, but his two parents were Asian and he was white. I’m not geneticist, but it seemed a little fishy. The kid who played Charlie seemed a little nervous on stage at first and I wondered why he had been cast as the lead role, but then he sang and it all made sense. He could hit notes that my long, thick vocal cords could never hit. I was impressed by his talent.

Overall the play was phenomenal with the slight debilities that you’d expect from a middle school production: not being able to hear what everyone was saying, awkward pauses waiting for the music to start, and occasionally forgetting a dance move. It exceeded my expectations is so many ways. I had a big smile on my face throughout the play and it really made me day. The kids were singing and dancing their hearts out and it warmed my heart to see them having so much fun. As frustrating as my middle schoolers can be, they really do make me happy.

My other school is having their play in a week or two and now I'm super-pumped to go see it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Case of the Missing Wallet

On Saturday as I was leaving my house to head over to a pizza party I went into my room to grab my wallet – it wasn’t there! I then checked the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen, and finally my car. It wasn’t in any of those places. I was completely bum-puzzled (a made-up word that I heard someone use on Survivor that I have now started using) because there are only a few places that I ever leave my wallet and it wasn’t in any of those places. I was going to be late to the party so left my house feeling rather uneasy without my wallet.

When I got home I searched all the places that I thought my wallet could be again and then I searched a bunch of random places. The most confusing thing was that the only place I’d been that day was the gym and I remembered taking my wallet to the gym. I keep my gym membership card in my car and when I get to the gym I put the card in my pocket and my wallet where the card was so that I don’t have to deal with my wallet in the gym. My gym card was where it was supposed to be in my car so I assumed that I would have put my wallet back in my pocket when I returned my gym card to its proper place. But still, my wallet wasn’t in my house so I called the gym to see if they had found a wallet. Nothing.

On Sunday I called the gym again and they still hadn’t found my wallet so I rechecked everywhere in my house one more time. I even checked the refrigerator just in case I had put it there in an extreme moment of absentmindedness. Nope, just milk in there. I drove to the gym and checked the parking lot and the bushes to see if I had dropped it on accident. Nada. I was now extremely bum-puzzled.

On Monday I decided to put the parable of the lost coin into practice. In the parable a woman loses a coin and then cleans up her house as she looks for it. In the end not only does she find the lost coin, but she now has a clean house. She’s so thrilled to have found the coin that she throws a party. I cleaned my entire house and didn’t find it. My house looked a lot nicer, but I still had no wallet.

At this point I started to get really worried. Friends had recommended that I cancel my credit cards right away, but I hadn’t because I was sure that my wallet was somewhere in my house. Now I wasn’t sure what to think and I started to think about all the things in my wallet that would be a pain to replace (debit card, credit card, drivers license, insurance card, temple recommend, and a nearly completed CafĂ© Rio stamp card that I was going to use on my next trip to Utah).

When I got home from FHE on Monday night I decided to check the bushes by my driveway to see if I’d accidentally dropped it there. It was dark so I took out my flashlight and scanned the area around my driveway, but nothing. My landlady’s car is parked in the garage and I had previously looked under it for my wallet, but not with a flashlight so I decided to check again. As I walked towards the car I saw my wallet in the garage lying on the ground next to an old hose. I was shocked and elated, but I was also rather bum-puzzled. You see, not only had I already searched the garage, but I had walked by my wallet about a dozen times without noticing it and it wasn’t very hidden at all. In fact, it was kind of out in the open. How could I have missed it? Here’s my sinister theory.

For the last few weeks a man has been rebuilding the deck at my house. We’ve chatted a bunch and formed a nice, casual friendship. He really likes to tease me about my Mormonism. He calls me a jack Mormon and often asks how many girls I had over the previous night. I’ll say eight and then he’ll laugh and I’ll pretend to laugh at my unwitty response. He had been at my house for hours the day my wallet disappeared and I even mentioned to him that I couldn’t find my wallet as I was leaving for the pizza party. His response was, “I hope there wasn’t too much money in it,” and I responded, “Don’t worry, I’m a teacher.” He didn’t come over on Sunday, but he did come over again on Monday afternoon. My sinister theory is that he snatched my wallet off the kitchen table, felt guilty, and returned it to a place where he knew I’d find it.

Is it possible that this jovial deck builder stole my wallet? Maybe. Is it likely? Probably not. It seems much more likely that I dropped it in the garage and somehow didn’t manage to see it for three days. And I can’t be too suspicious of him because he was nice enough to patch the hole in the wall that my dad made. It appears that the case of the missing wallet has been solved and the culprit is my clumsy hands and under observant eyes.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

March Madness

March was awful, really awful. I didn’t blog much during March because the only thing I could think to write about was complaints about my job. I was trying hard to be a good teacher and I just felt like I was constantly failing. My outlook has improved lately so I’d like to share some fun stories from school.

I have one student who always gives me high fives. One day he raised his hand to ask a question and I walked over to him and gave him a high five instead. He laughed and said, “No, I have a question.” His hand was still in the air so I gave him another high five and then another. Another student yelled, “Hold up both hands!” thinking that that would get me to stop high fiving and finally answer the boy's question. So the high fiving student held up both hands and I gave him a high ten. After that I felt like I’d annoyed my student enough and I answered his question.

One of my classes constantly asks me who my favorite student is. This sort of dialogue always interests me so I kind of fan the flames more than I should. For instance, when someone is absent I’ll often say, “So-and-so isn’t here? But she’s my favorite student?” That usually leads to an outraged student saying, “She’s your favorite!? What about me?” I usually respond by shrugging my shoulders and saying, “Sorry,” as if I had nothing to do with selecting my favorite student.

I was in a good mood this week and decided to fan the flames a bit more. I told the class that they would be voting for my favorite student. They each got to write who they thought my favorite student should be on a piece of paper and they were not allowed to vote for themselves. As I expected most of the ballots were jokes and my favorite student is now a kid who consistently tries to be annoying. I was 95% sure that that particular student would be selected before we voted so I was prepared for the outcome. It was a fun few minutes.

On an unrelated note, I was accepted to a PhD program at the University of Arizona which means that I’ll be packing up and moving to Tucson in August. When I first started telling people my good news a common reaction was, “Aren’t you just jumping up and down with excitement?” and I’d respond by saying, “Yeah, but I’m not jumping.” I really am excited, but I also realize that it’s going to be a ton of work. Also, I’ve moved a lot in the past and the idea of packing all my stuff into my car again is less than thrilling. And I'm really going to miss my family and friends here in Washington. But still, this is what I want to do and it’ll all be worth it.

One last thing: this is the view from my deck. I love living in a beautiful place.