School is coming to a close and as usual, I have mixed feelings. Last Monday I felt mildly disgusted with my students for no discernible reason except that I felt they had overstayed their welcome. Luckily I was back to my normal self by Tuesday, and spent the rest of the week enjoying their idiosyncrasies and we had a good week. Did I mention that I taught the play, Julius Caesar, to one block? Well, I did, and they were great sports about it. As their reward for working hard, I showed both the 1953 and the 1970 film versions, and we were able to discuss the way casting affects character development and understanding. My other two blocks did not read the play, as I felt they needed more writing and skills practice, but I did show them the 1953 version, after prepping them for it, and I feel they were exposed to it at the very least. I'm the only 10th grade teacher in our building who taught it, as most feel like it was too difficult for the regular classes, but since it is in our curriculum, I felt that to leave it out would deprive them of something important. My high school education was sorely lacking in Shakespeare, and I have always felt I missed some important works, which is why I am trying to read some of the books everyone assumes I have already read. And for me to decide that some groups of students don't need to read Shakespeare, while other groups do, smacks of divisiveness and elitism. And my God, the language that is in that play! As I had never read it before, I had no idea that so many of the phrases we use today originated from it. Most of my students had heard of the new movie, The Fault in Our Stars, but even I didn't know the phrase came from Julius Caesar. It was only one of the many lines that we recognized. I found that to be very exciting and illuminating.
On another note entirely, my stepdaughter, Stephanie, left today to begin her tour as a Peace Corp volunteer. She flew to Philadelphia this morning for a one day orientation, and flies to JFK tomorrow to catch her flight to Togo, Africa. I met Stephanie when she was fifteen, married her father when she was sixteen, and she has been as dear to my heart as my own daughters ever since. In fact, due to the fact that she lived with us and I'm off ten weeks every summer, she and I have spent a great deal of time alone together over the past seven years. She even learned to knit from me, and I like to think that she flourished as a result of our relationship as well as the relationships she has with both of my daughters, who love her dearly and never use the word "step" when speaking of her to others. As a matter of fact, she looks more like a blood sister to my youngest, than my two girls do with each other! And I think that the quirkiness and independent spirits of my daughters helped make Stephanie feel more comfortable with her own independent and quirky self. Not that I take credit for Stephanie being who she is; I just think we were very good for each other. She has an innate sense of kindness and has always been very accepting of me and my girls, after the initial shock of us wore off, and because of her, I was able to delay having an empty nest a few years longer than I would have otherwise.
The truth of the matter is, I don't know how I'll get through this summer without her, let alone two and a half years, even as I am bursting with pride for her and this new adventure she has embarked upon. Thank you, Stephanie, for being so brave and adventurous!
Oh, and thank you for your concern about my yard work/lack of common sense injury. Although I keep finding random bruises, I'm healing quite nicely. And no more power tools after dark.