Monday, October 6, 2008

A Sort of Homecoming

Aaron Copeland--"Fanfare For The Common Man" (mp3)
Aimee Mann--"Wise Up" (mp3)

This bomb-blast lightning waltz
No spoken words, just a scream...

--U2, "A Sort of Homecoming"

I can't speak for Billy, but I haven't been able to keep up the blog for several days because I simply got overwhelmed by our ongoing football rivalry with another school in town. It's a week that involves shirt sales, button sales, orgiastic sign-painting, a bonfire, a luncheon with our sister school, a pep rally, a Michael-Jackson-based skit, a caravan, alums everywhere, reunion parties, and all of the many things students did that I don't even know about. Here a few random, ironically-juxtaposed thoughts on this yearly experience:

--Students from both schools engaged in at least the following--public urination, public defecation, drinking and driving, vandalism, theft, defacing of public property, retaliation on each other's campuses...and the list goes on. Thinking about this in the context of teaching A Clockwork Orange has made me rethink the ideas in that book a bit. I was inclined to consider the teenage actions in the book as too extreme, but I'm not so sure.

--I secured perhaps the most important business card from an alum ever! This former student of mine actually makes Smuttynose Beer up in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and has promised to load me up with several cases and a full tour of operations and who knows what else!

--As we ride an 11-year winning streak, it has become clear once again that winning is not something that gets old. Any feelings of, I hope they finally win, let's let them win for a while, or any of that were dashed quickly. Over time, perhaps the feelings get a bit more sophisticated, perhaps there is a "feeling sorry for them" aspect to basking in the victory, but perhaps not.

--The integrity of sign-painted messages must be carefully considered. Case in point: the opposing team's sign "We'll Blow _(insert school here)___ Away!" was one student guerilla mission away from having its last word removed and its meaning changed entirely.

--When you talk to alums, you encounter guys you taught as many as 20 years ago, and when you see them, in spite of their age, their gray, their wives and children, you tend to see them instantly as they were all those years ago when you were trying to get them to do their homework and you were busting them for drinking. But now, students who barely got through are web designers, radiologists, overseers of the family business, high school teachers and coaches, former Marines, former spies, you name it.
--If alums look that old, how do we look?

--Much as I might get nostalgic about the past, at the same time, I always find it kind of unsettling when alums return, because they undercut the notion we teachers share that we live in a perpetual present of students who range in age from 15 to 18 and who may change faces, but who never stop being anything but high school students.

1 comment:

Beth said...

Bob, you've got to hook me up with that Smuttynose connection - my sister lives in Durham, which as you know is quite close to Portsmouth!