Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “lesson plans”

Cricket’s Hamlet Adventure: 3rd Day–of Words and Rarities


Hamlet School began today.

Up at 6:30 am I quickly rustled up a yogurt cup over at Union Station and trotted over to Folger’s with several members of our Hamlet crew. We hoped we would remember together how to find our way there. If all walked in late we couldn’t get mass detention, right?

A very full day. I will say this–reflecting upon my years of teaching Hamlet, I know I could have taught it better. That’s one reason I applied to Folger’s Hamlet Summer Academy, to learn how to engage my students. Plus, Hamlet is THE favorite of all Shakespeare’s plays. After today, I could go home today fulfilled. I picked up so many tips and ideas I might have to teach Hamlet in the fall instead of spring I’m looking so forward to revamping my unit.

After a morning of focusing on the words and ways to enliven the interest of our students, we traipsed off the  Folger Library. This is no ordinary library. In order to access the reference material we had to apply to become readers (ahem–scholars) and then receive photo IDs. No books leave the room. It’s all about Shakespeare–and then some.  

 We were taken down to a special viewing of rare books, including a First Folio, and the lease for Shakespeare’s house, meaning I touched an artifact that the Bard handled. *tingles* For a Bardinator that’s cool stuff. If you’re aren’t a Bardinator, this might not be so impresssive. 

The afternoon involved reading lines, scenes, and eventually the play. Yes, it was a long day. I wonder how our students would fare if school consisted of 12 hour days?

I bid adieu to the remains of the day, exhausted, but still hoping to see more of the sights. My body tired, my mind is whirling from all the Hamletting done today. 

“O, there had been throwing about of brains.”

The Ruing of Breaking


rue 1 (r)

v. ruedru·ingrues
v.tr.

To feel regret, remorse, or sorrow for.
v.intr.

To feel regret, remorse, or sorrow.
n.
It never fails.  About the time I begin to feel *normal* I go back to work.  For those of you who are not teachers I may not get much sympathy–after all, most of the world does not get large chunks of time off scattered throughout the year like educator types do.  Skip this post then.  I really don’t want to read comments about whatever am I complaining about getting almost two weeks off for Christmas Break.  This post is more about coping with the deprogramming I go through while on break.  I definitely feel regret, remorse, and/or sorrow; I rue.
Now don’t get me wrong.  I don’t rue my choice of career.  I love teaching.  Some days I even like it (old joke).  What I rue is how intensely I view my career.  I don’t stop thinking school during my break and I am constantly forming  lesson plans, looking up new sites, checking mail (answering questions from students–yes, I will write you a reference letter), and refining old units as I create new ones. That creative energy, that inertia of teaching doesn’t just quietly wait for me in the classroom; it follows me home and won’t let me enjoy reading a book without marking a passage to share with students, I can’t read the newspaper without clipping out an article that underscores a lesson recently covered, and I’m unable to work on my writing because of all those teacherly cobwebs covering up my creativity.
Until today.  Today I woke up and felt like teaching is a distant memory, a fond reminiscence, something I once did.  Today I really got the urge to write, write, write.  New ideas, a resurgence of purpose, a desire to edit and revise and investigate new publishing opportunities.  Aah, then there is the crashing reality of it being Friday and knowing I return to the classroom on Monday, meaning writing will once again take a nestled backseat to my day, that is f I have time and energy after grading papers and configuring another day’s set of lessons.
Today is today.  Monday is Monday.  I shall not rue my break, only embrace the fact it gives me glimmer of what retirement might be like.
P.S. I found this documentary at the library: American Teacher. Wow! What an eye-opener.
To all teachers out there: January is that much closer to June. Hang in there!

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