A couple of weeks ago I was approached by two representatives from my union. They want me to do some stuff like email my representatives and other political people about the state of the union or whatever. I said I’d do it, and then we talked about work. I mentioned the D.I.Y. Book club and they wanted to know more. Being only “slightly” enthusiastic about the club, I told them EVERYTHING! Then they left.
Two weeks later, I have my first meeting of the D.I.Y. Book club and my nerves were on fire all day. When the final bell had rung and I entered the library, I was a jittery mess. Would anyone show up? I noticed a couple of girls had also wandered in with me and just stood there, but I figured they were going to head over to the computers. That’s the other group meeting after school, computer game people.
But they weren’t. They were there for my club! Three more girls showed up, and three boys!
Three boys in my club! Holy moly, Maynard! Just the fact that I had eight students show up was pretty awesome in my book, but have guys in there as well?
The meeting went well, although the moment I mentioned poetry, the guys were curling their lips and leaning backward. “We’re going to explore different facets of writing, and that will include poetry.”
“You mean like flowers and love and stuff?”
“Only if you want it. Of course, you could write about dead flowers, ghosts, and bloody things, too if you’d rather.”
Yeah, that was all it took. They’re totally on board with the gory poems.
I challenged them to a short story and we were able to share before the meeting had to end. I will admit to being quite impressed with a couple of them, one in particular, and I can see real talent that could turn into something spectacular if they keep up with it.
The next day, I was still riding that high note, telling everyone how great it was and how the kids seemed to really enjoy it (ok, direct quote, “if I could take this class all day, I would.”) But as usual, after work, I was wiped and just sat at home on the computer, wiping out my facebook account, when the phone rang.
It was some gal from the union and she mentioned the visit I had a couple weeks ago and my mind immediately said, “She’s gonna ask you to do those emails now, you know, so I’m outta here,” and it went mostly offline. It’s not that I don’t believe in helping, I just don’t want to listen to all their reasons, AGAIN.
She said that one of the gals that had come to my house said I have quite a story and she would like to know more.
“You’ve started a writing club at your school?”
“Oh, yeah, I did.”
“Well, I think this is a wonderful idea and I’d like to put it on the union website, so if you have the time, I’d like to interview you now.”
Then it clicked. She was interviewing… ME! My brain? It ‘sploded. My mouth? It kind of flapped and for the next fifteen minutes, she asked questions and I answered them, but I really don’t think I did a lot of breathing.
When I mentioned that I was hoping to get community involvement by inviting guest writers to come in and talk about what they do, she said that she had been a reporter for 20 years and an editor for 10 (or five, I don’t remember now) and she would be happy to come talk to us. Oh, and while she’s there, could she take some pictures of our meeting to go on the website.
I told her I’d need to discuss it with my principal to make sure it was in compliance with district policy (although I’m not sure why it wouldn’t be, since it’s regarding the school and nothing bad).
But, what she and I are hoping to see is this program getting picked up by other schools. The fact that I’m a para and not a teacher is one of the “hooks” because for the most part, after school activities usually fall on teacher’s shoulders, and those shoulders are already pretty full. Showing that paras CAN take on an afterschool program may give way to more opportunities for students to explore new venues of creativity.
Now, I must go draft a lesson plan for the next meeting and prepare myself for another round of gory stories and take a poke at some poetry.