It’s that time of year again, where we get to sit down with our children’s teachers and have them tell what a joy they are to have in class, how everything is fine, how we’re raising little geniuses.
Well, except the boy. The boy’s a terror.
Nah, not really. They’re all doing well. But that’s not what I’m hear to talk about. I’ve made it my mission to, how to put it, offer up my Shakespeare services? to my kids’ teachers over the years:
So here’s how it went:
1) My son’s first grade teacher? I did not offer. Having failed to climb the wall last year for second graders, and having had less than stellar luck with first graders in the past, I was not ready to volunteer to get into it again. He’s got more years in the school system. And, just because I didn’t offer now, doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind and offer later. (I’ll actually be his class’s “Junior Achievement” speaker, which will be more about computers than Shakespeare)
2) My daughter’s third grade teacher. This is an interesting one. Last year we were really excited to try Shakespeare in her second grade class, until I got Bowdlerized into non existence by the principal (who is not my pal). Well this year my daughter’s third grade teacher also happens to be the “head teacher”, in charge of all sorts of things. She’s also a world class geek (though she won’t admit it) who talks a mile a minute, assumes that whoever she is speaking with understands everything that she is saying, and gives more the feeling of being a teller than a listener, you know? Not any of those things in a bad way, just that’s the way she is. I call it a geeky personality. I know people like that. I probably am people like that.
Anyway, as we are done with our whirlwind check in for our daughter and being ushered to the door, I make my pitch – “Just wanted to throw this out there, I’ve done it for all my kids teachers over the years. My kids have been raised on Shakespeare. So if there’s ever any sort of unit you’re doing in the classroom that might overlap with that subject, be it poetry or memorization or even English history or drama or performance, I’d be happy to help out with something like that.”
Well she *loved* it. “Yes. Yes yes. Let’s do this, let’s make this happen.” No real plan for what or when exactly, but it’s a start. I warned her that I’d tried a similar project last year and gotten shot down by the principal himself. She smiled (smirked?) and suggested that there were benefits to being head teacher. I love it. I’m a little nervous about what her expectations might be now that I’ve opened this door, but when has that stopped me?
3) My fifth grade daughter. I tried to do something with her Brownie troop last year, since they’re the oldest and could most easily pick up a script and give it a shot, but that particular event didn’t happen. So, again, I make the pitch to her teacher. And got back a totally different response? “That’s great! In the past we actually did a unit on the sonnets, and I had the kids memorize Sonnet 19.”
…really? “Sonnet 19?” I asked. “No you didn’t. Really? Nobody does Sonnet 19.”
“Sure we did,” she said. “When in disgrace with fortune in men’s eyes…?”
For a minute I confused that with 18, before remembering that it is 29. I told her that I thought that was a great idea and would happily come in to do something like that or, as I mentioned to the other teacher, anything on biography, english history, or even drama/performance.
She asked whether she could put a link to my site up on her teacher’s page for the kids, but alas I had to disclaim myself and acknowledge that since the site is not deliberately geared for that age group, that they would see some occasionally PG-style language. I don’t mind when teenagers find the site on their own (and they often do), but I can’t willingly tell a teacher to tell her 10yr olds to come read this stuff.
So it looks like I might have at least two different opportunities to get back into the classroom this year! Keep your fingers crossed.