Today is the day of my school's junior/senior prom. It is a day of magic and beauty and anticipation and multi-colored fake fingernails and head scarves covering rollers and elaborate, humidity-sensitive do's and discussions of whose stretch Humvee is the longest. It is a day that my district requires all potential prom-goers to attend school for at least half the day--until 10:40 a.m. It is, as all teachers of juniors and seniors realize, a wasted day.
Morning classes are full, but those in attendance are too busy worrying about hair appointments, dress fittings, manis, pedis and limo rentals to really pay attention to any class assignment. After 10:40, classes are empty. The only students who remain are those with really strict parents or those who are not attending the prom. My children, with four proms between them, remained at school the entire day of each prom day. I hope they have forgiven me. Partly to make it up to my lovely, long-suffering and understanding children, Erin and Tim, I always try to plan a useful lesson for prom day despite the loud and regular protests of my students.
A very short play about the futility of teaching, not just on prom day
(The class buzzes hopefully, quietly discussing the slight possibility that I might give them a "free day.")
Me: Haven't you learned by now that I'm not accepting lame excuses like the prom as a way to avoid work? Haven't you managed to avoid enough work this year?
Dan: We've done plenty of stuff this year. We should get a day off. I mean, we read Hamilton, and everything.
Dan: We read Hamilton.
Me: What?? . . . Hamilton? . . . . . . (as a sudden and horrible possibility slowly dawns) . . . . . by William Shakespeare?