24 September 2008

Directives from the ceiling, stars in the closet and feet on the ground

(A voice from the ceiling interrupts a lively discussion of how to improve college application essays)

Disembodied voice: If you are assigned in-school suspension and walk out, you'll be suspended for two days. Some of you are going to ISS without being assigned, and if that happens you will get two days' suspension as well. You must be accompanied by a parent when you return, or you will be escorted off school property . . .

Me: Who goes to in-school without being assigned??

Grace: I know, right?

Disembodied voice: . . . you will not be allowed to return to school.

Donald: So much for talking about going to college . . .


Me: So I'm recommending that you check out AdmissionsAdvice.com to confirm what I've been telling you about your college application essays. You really need to make sure that they communicate some aspect of who you are that your grades and test scores won't show. We'll continue working on your rough drafts tomorrow. Any questions?

Alyssa (waving her hand in the air): Clay Aikens is gay! He came out yesterday.

Me: Alyssa, um, I don't think I actually called on you. And I don't think this has anything to do with college application essays . . . so . . . What??

Alyssa: And Lindsay Lohan has a girlfriend.

Me (to Jessica, as I point to my forehead): Is that frown line back? The one that happens when I'm confused?

Jessica: Oh yeah.

Me: Just checking. Alyssa, I'm very happy for them all.

Charles: And back to the discussion of our essays . . .

(Even later . . . )

Me: So how many of you got an idea for your essay from the brainstorming activity?
(Two hands go up out of 24)

Me: So how many of you wrote your brainstorming thing vertically, like a list?

Charles: Vertically? Um, I wrote complete sentences.

Amanda: Me, too.

Samantha: Yeah.

Katherine: Yup. Complete sentences.

Me: What? How many of you did your brainstorming in complete sentences?
(22 out of 24 hands go up)

Me: Why? I told you specifically that it should NOT be complete sentences, that you should just write whatever pops into your mind related to the topic.

Charles: That's just the way we roll.

Me: Oy. Yes, I am rolling my eyes at you, Charles. Let me get this straight. I tell you NOT to write complete sentences, and you do. If I tell you I WANT complete sentences, I get little bitty fragments with no punctuation. Huh??

Jacob: I think that's the way our minds work. We want to do the opposite of what people tell us to do.

Anna: Miss? I think it's because we have messy lives so we naturally try to put them in order, in sentences.

Me: I think I'll go with what Anna said, if you don't mind.

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