Posts Tagged ‘straight’
I just started at a jovial sort of community band, funded by a local university. I had been having plenty of fun, and though I was busy trying to recruit other but better trombone players for it, I had run into little success. This week, the two guys I had recruited flaked out.
In a jovial, faux-exasperated tone of voice, our director asked me where the two of them were. In a jovial, faux-exasperated tone of voice, I answered.
Hell if I know.
Half of the band gasped. Our director sent me an amused but officially disapproving glare. The community-made half of our band laughed upon recognizing either reaction.
I was as shocked at that shock as half of the band was with my language. I come from bands where instructors will cuss out a band if they feel the band would be better motivated by doing so, and that’s the least of my stories.
One director, upon hearing cacophony where there should be ordered dissonance in stacked seconds, said what he heard sounded like an abortion looks.
Saying “hell” is nothing.
More ironically, I consciously don’t cuss — a habit I most definitely did not pick up from my family, and at the same time one I most definitely picked up because of them. My words don’t get saltier than the silly-sounding “douchenozzle,” and that’s just about the only word I take pains not to say around schoolkids.
Yet I made some college freshman blush because I used language I’ve heard on the playground — the elementary school playground — and I don’t think it’s because she’s a flute player. Either way, I don’t think I’ll ever be in her good graces.
Something tells me I would have spared some nerves if only I had remembered that our sponsoring university was founded in 1944. By Mennonites. Freakin’ Mennonites.
I can say freakin’, right?
Thanks to the futzing of a roommate, I don’t have Internet, and I probably won’t until after Thursday. I’ll still keep up with daily posts, in part because of a national chain that tries way too hard to be trendy. In short: Thank you, Starbucks.
Even though your employees know absolutely nothing helpful about troubleshooting your free Internet, and even though “free” means “buy a $5 gift card and register it online to obtain Internet access,” it’s the thought that counts.
I don’t mind the gift card requirement — I knew you had the best intentions. As such, I went out of the way to make sure you didn’t end up a liar. I had my roommate buy a $5 gift card, using only negligible coercion of my own. As it turned out, she immediately used the card to purchase herself one of your many fatty, sugary, overcaffinated drinks, and she gave me the rest of the gift card.
Sure, there’s only 70 cents left. That’s still enough to register the card online to get my despite-your-best-efforts-still-free Internet.
I don’t even mind the two-hour limit on Internet use. I figure that this is for my own good. Without an artificial, largely arbitrary restriction, I’d stay on all day, and that would sorely diminish the chances I’d ever finish The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
Thank you, soulless, corporation of gargantuan proportions in every concievable sense. I will be a happy patron of your comfortable chairs and free Internet, and I’ll show it. Until your Internet policies inevitably change, Starbucks will be my exclusive source of iceless water in a pretentiously named large cup.
Please don’t take any of this personally. It’s just that if I at all behaved differently, my Internet wouldn’t be free.
Part Three of Four in my series on my two master teachers.
My master teacher said:
I do not invite them over to my house; I do not let them sleep on my couch if they’re having trouble at home, or are kicked out.
Then she says:
I gave up being a counselor a long time ago.
I almost don’t believe it. She is dedicated to our students, even if as strictly students. She gets to know their family life, learns habits, prejudices and excuses. She keeps some notes on each of them in her computer, and remembers the other details.
She doesn’t go to sports, but goes to events during lunch. She congratulates students on their participation or success in either.
I wouldn’t know her room had walls if I were impressionable. Every square inch within reach of her shortish frame is touched by some poster, or project, or the butcher paper replica of the human body for her psychology class.
As far as I am concerned, she teaches her government/economics class, and she teaches it jointly with her English class. She keeps a library of books in her classroom, mostly of the Scholastic-published variety.
The books run the gamut, from The Odyssey backwards to If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, though the largest concentration of books is between the eighth- and tenth-grade reading levels.
This is senior English. This is about-to-graduate-and-never-go-back-to-school-again English. She considers herself justified.
These kids graduated from their intervention programs, and the best might scratch the cusp of achievement if they joined an Advanced Placement class. She’s more worried about teaching them to love reading than to spot a synecdoche at 500 yards, or to parse iambic pentameter.
In general, and paraphrased, her philosophy:
Maximum Ride teaches them more about reading than The Scarlet Letter for one reason and one reason only: They won’t read The Scarlet Letter. They’ll wait until the teacher gives them the answers. On the other hand, they’ll read Maximum Ride.
Are her priorities straight? I’m inclined to think that they are.