Monday, February 20, 2012
The Game of Life
Part of my duties, as an electives teacher, is to recruit new cherubs every year. By the very nature of their existence, electives courses - such as those of the newspaper and yearbook variety, featuring my journalistas - depend on an active grapevine to get butts in the classroom seats for the next school year.
I know I complain about the large numbers in my classes - for example, 42 cherubs in 6th period this year and 36 in 7th - but I shouldn't really carp. Large numbers in an elective means that my job in its current incarnation is safe for one more year, and I won't have to teach Macbeth to seniors who don't give a rip anytime soon.
So it was that I was faced with the ultimate test in my salesmanship abilities last week as our school hosted consecutive opportunities for teachers to showcase their electives classes.
Wednesday featured the schoolwide electives fair, a hunk of time set aside for current kiddos to wander from classroom to classroom, sampling the wares, so to speak. I had a fair number of cherubs in my three sessions, which is a good thing.
Thursday evening, the parents of 8th-graders over at the local middle school came by my table in the cafeteria. I talked up journalism and hope I impressed the old folks enough that they will speak to their soon-to-be-9th-graders about how much fun there is to be had in Room 215.
Friday morning was the ultimate test. My little ol' electives were up against some formidable competition, as 600 8th-graders descended upon the high school to check out tables we'd set up in both gyms. I recruited four of my cherubs, set up a mighty display of newspapers, yearbooks and posters featuring my journalistas eating, hanging out on the couch, eating, and, did I mention eating?
Eighth-graders are still tethered to the mother ship. When we push pizza and frivolity over academics and substance, they tend to go for it. Nevermind that we're shallow. The object is to get the butts in the seats. Once that's accomplished, more serious pursuits couldn't possibly be that far behind.