Today was the second day of school and I'm exhausted. The first two days have flown by. If that's any sign of what's to come, the year will be over before I can explain the difference between phrases and clauses. Right. I wish. The beginning always flies by and then the adrenaline wears off and the novelty of a new year plummets like the 2008 stock market. But that's okay. I was a baseball player, and in baseball, the ultimate game of failure, you have to stay steady, somewhere in the middle, not too high or too low.
Teaching is kind of the same. Baseball is a long season, a grind of sorts, and school can be similar. Pretty soon it will be dark in the morning when I flip on the classroom lights, and it will be dark in the early evening when I turn them off to leave. That's when it starts to get tough. The days get shorter but somehow seem to last longer. That's what I mean by staying steady, in the middle, level-headed, pacing yourself. Whatever you want to call it. When you teach kids on the verge of pubescence, you have no choice but to stay somewhere in the middle. If you don't, your gas tank will read empty in February, and then you still have three and a half months left in the season.
This year's sixth graders are interesting. 100 students total. 40 new ones, which is typical, since sixth grade is a main entry level to the school. Right now we're discussing summer reading. Under the Blood-Red Sun, by Graham Salisbury. The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. The jury is still out on The Graveyard Book. I've heard mixed reactions. The number one reaction so far is that the book is confusing in parts. I would agree. The story walks the line between black and white, living and dead, which results in a cloud of grey at times. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for other summer reading candidates for next year's sixth graders. I want to read When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead, because I think it could be a strong candidate from what I'm hearing. Never know.
Tonight I'm off to the Dave Matthews Band concert at the Greek Theater. Long night ahead. Lighter schedule tomorrow. Steady I go. Steady I be. Steady's my middle name. Steady Eddie. Steady Freddie. Ready. Set. Steady.