My seniors are cool. I’ve decided to study Bradbury’s fine Fahrenheit 451 with them and my Freshmen simultaneously. Because of various interruptions such as registration for next year and yet another mandatory writing assessment (this time for the state), my Freshmen are only 40 pages into the book, so we should be able to catch up to, maybe even pass, them soon. Because the seniors have more background in topics like World War II, I knew I didn’t have to take them step by step through the history of everyone and everything related to der Fuehrer’s party and ideas. I took der Meister’s suggestion and told them to come up and list everything they knew and associated with Nazis. They had no problem there. Not as much info as I wanted at first, but I guided them to various topics and groups that would lead us to drawing parallels with the Fahrenheit society. We also got into censorship and its different forms. They had fantastic comments and we had a great discussion that took the entire period! It was wonderful! And I told them so. And they seemed genuinely interested in the book! Their mentality and thought processes are definitely above that of a 15-year old, and I am thankful that der Meister can help me come up with questions that I hope will foster that. I am also thinking of creating a setting more like a college class and having them form a circle or half-circle which I can join, hoping that will foster discussion. Because I really hate rows. Our kind fellow teachers (who graciously let us use their classroom) have set their room up for their own success, which is not always cohesive to my own. I noticed that the teacher of the concurrent enrollment English class organizes his desks in a circle for that class only and I liked how it seems to affect the setting and mood of the class. I thought I’d try it with my seniors. Any comments on that from you fine folks out there?

Something else that happened today that was great. And needed after a particularly annoying class of annoying kids. While in the front office, I noticed a note in my box. There is a program at many high schools here called Keys for Success which is sponsored by a local car dealership. Teachers reward their students by giving them a Keys for Success card which allows them to get prizes and enter their name in a drawing for a new car at the end of the school year. Apparently at this time in our school, there is a Keys to Success for teachers where students can nominate a teacher who they find deserving of a fine prize at the end of the year. Imagine my pleasant and humble surprise as I looked in my box and pulled out this slip entitled “Teacher Nomination.” I see the name of one of my fine and wonderful, intelligent, giggly, sweet senior ladies. Under the line “Why your teacher is great” she wrote: “She’s nice, fun and very intelligent. She makes things fun to learn. We need more teachers like her.”

Which is why I started in the first place. And keep going back. Happy happy day.

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