Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Long Friday

I think I'm going to try and keep a running journal of what will doubtless be a long day, spanning today, tonight, and most of tomorrow. I'll be updating this post throughout the day with new entries, so stay tuned!

Entry 1: Friday, Oct. 28, 9:05 am

My first period prep time. I'm sitting at a different picnic table than usual so that I can be in the sun. Wise choice--it's actually quite warm where I'm sitting, and very comfortable as the cool breeze moderates the heat from the sun-beam. I'm taking it easy this morning because I know I've got a long day ahead of me, and I am planning on getting a decent amount of grading done at the lock-in tonight.

The freshmen are practicing their Greek Day skits for their English class in the plaza--quite entertaining. Again, this is a class of actors and actresses. I am looking forward to Greek Day!

Entry 2: Friday, Oct. 28, 1:11 pm

High School lunch. I'm out at the picnic tables again, but not at the same one (I'm one to the left--following the sun). Morning was good: open-forum discussion in Humanities 2nd and 3rd period, using questions about The Crucible as a jumping-off point for a larger discussion on freedom. I told the kids to think of applications to their own lives and to CAJ, which is a bit scary because it means that the discussion might veer off from where I hope/expect it to go. But then, there's true value in simply having a class discussion, too, wherever it goes. I can abandon my expectations and goals if there's learning taking place, even if it's not what I had planned.

On this occasion, the discussion mostly revolved around the idea of Biblical perspective and the validity of Bible class (kind of tagging onto the question of 'should a society try to enforce holiness and morality through rules and laws?' and then applying that to what they perceive as CAJ's expectations and rules). It's interesting because this was the direction the 6th period class went with our very first discussion, though the focusing question of "enforcing holiness" gave this particular discussion some traction that the 6th period class didn't have when talking generally about Bible class (as it related to their class identity).

Turns out, there are lots of kids who do not understand the purpose of learning a Biblical perspective in their classes. One girl brought up a very articulate defense of Biblical perspective, saying that "CAJ wants us to practice making connections between God and His world, and to understand that ultimately everything belongs to God." Bravo. I agree that this is the school's, and certainly my own intention.

However, most classmates didn't share this perspective. One girl said in response, "Having done Biblical perspective since middle school, I've simply learned what the teacher wants to hear and so I can write a Biblical perspective paragraph that earns me an A, but I don't actually believe myself."

Less bravo. Points for honesty, though. This girl also said that while she was Christian, she didn't see or understand the connections that she'd learned to make mechanically since middle school. She simply thought requiring a Biblical perspective created parrots who echo the buzzwords that they hear in class. I went to a Christian high school. I went to a Christian college. I learned that I could get high marks if I quoted Abraham Kuyper in my college essays. I know EXACTLY what she means.

Man, and I tried SO hard to work against this buzzword mentality two years ago when I was these kids' Bible teacher... perhaps the process is inevitable. Still, the kids raise good questions and good concerns. How can we make Biblical perspective a genuine and organic thing?

I mean, all of creation belongs to God (and these days, I'm not just parroting Kuyperian jargon--this is actually what I believe) and that, to me, is an obvious truth. You'd think it would not be all that challenging to draw natural, organic connections between God and different aspects of His creation.

Hmm... something to mull over. I'm not a Bible teacher anymore, but it is instructive in how much thought and care I need to put into connecting my Humanities and English course content to the Bible.

Entry 3: Friday, Oct. 28, 3:01 pm

Just got home, and I'm about to head to bed for a few hours. At 7, I will head over to a friend's house for a game night with a bunch of people. I'm looking forward to that. It's seemed like this year, time to hang out with friends has been much too scarce. I value these moments.

Entry 4: Fri, Oct. 28, 6:25 pm

Awake--got just over two hours of sleep and am feeling pretty well rested. This feels doable.

Entry 5: Fri, Oct. 28, 9:11 pm

Here I am, back at the same picnic table at which I started the school day 12 hours ago. Kind of a poetic bookend. The lock-in will start late, as the StuCo gym night is running late, so I will eat my dinner and wait... The game night with friends was fun (though I left before the first game was done).

A random thing I'm thankful for: the hay and alfalfa fields in the middle of the city here. I can't always see them, but if the wind is right, I can smell them. It smells like the farm, the sweet scent of fresh cut grass--and it makes me feel all nostalgic and content. Life is good. God is good.

Entry 6: Fri, Oct. 28, 11:35 pm

We just officially "locked in" for the night--29 Seniors are in the atrium, waiting for the first movie of the night to start: The Lion King! I'm excited. It's been at least 10 years since I last watched this movie. Looking forward to a great night. I miss teaching this class and so it will be good to hang out and catch up with them tonight and tomorrow.

Entry 7: Sat, Oct. 29, 2:32 am

The Lion King was better than I remembered it--so well-made!

Right now, there are 3 groups: Kids who are sleeping, kids who are watching a movie, and kids who are playing Truth or Dare. I am supervising the Truth or Dare game to, in my words, "keep it holy."

Yaaaaawwwnn... I'm getting a little tired.

Entry 8: Sat, Oct. 29, 4:22 am

Most kids are asleep. The remaining few are watching the movie "Tangled." Funny how the older we get, the harder it becomes to stay up late--the Seniors are realizing this. Earlier in the week, they'd predicted that most people would be up all night, and in actuality, about half have been asleep for a few hours. Ah, getting older...

Entry 9: Sat, Oct. 29, 6:03 am

I must have slept for about 40 minutes because one minute Rapunzel was escaping from the tower with Eugene ("Flynn") and the next, the credits were rolling. The sun is up and it is daylight outside. In about an hour, I'll wake everyone up and send some home, and drag a few (or they'll drag me) over to the gym to set up for concessions at 7:30.

Entry 10: Sat, Oct. 29, 9:05 am

For a sense of continuity and symmetry, I decided to write this entry from the same picnic table that I ate dinner at last night, 12 hours ago, and at which I wrote the first entry exactly 24 hours ago. The volleyball games will start in a minute, and the concessions have been running for about an hour. I had a Honey Milk Latte from Tully's--hopefully that will keep me going for a while. The kids running concessions are all troopers--their classmates who are working the late morning/afternoon shifts were able to go home and sleep, but this crew went straight from the lock-in to their concession duties. One of them, the StuCo president, was responsible for setting up/running gym night last night before the lock-in and has been at school for 24 hours now. I'm proud of these kids and their hard work, despite how tired they must be. Let's hope there aren't too many errors in counting out change today...

Well, I am heading back into supervise/watch volleyball... Only... 7 more hours to go? I think?

Entry 11: Sat, Oct. 29, 12:15 pm

I'm now in the stage where I am falling asleep standing up. The kids who started the day with concessions have ended their shifts and I could not be more proud of their endurance. Cool to see these kids grow up and handle their duties and responsibilities faithfully and without complaining, even when they are tired. Being a Senior means taking on hard work, and that trait was so evident this morning.

The games were good this morning--both the C and B teams won their first matches of the day and were quite sharp out on the court.

I'm barely coherent, less than articulate, and have been called back to reality several times by people who have caught me just staring off into space, but I'm surviving. It was a good morning.

Entry 12: Sat., Oct. 29, 4:00 pm

I'm home. Heading to bed. Thanks for your prayers--it was a great (and long) day.

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