Monday, January 17, 2011

Locked-in with Grade 10

Thursday January 13, 2011
Well after a marathon shopping day Wednesday - first with Marvin (driver) in the morning to buy painting supplies, paint etc. at the Do-It Hardware center and then in the afternoon after school with F. (teacher/friend)at Price Mart(aka Costco) I was as ready as I could get for Thursday morning and the tenth grade lock-in. I woke at 4:30am but began packing instead of walking. Managed to be packed and ready to spend the night at school by the time D. was up and ready for school. I even got a cup of coffee and a cup of vanilla Greek yogurt in before we headed out. Then a long day of classes mine and Warren’s and setting up for another marathon 18 hour painting night. The girls soccer practice was canceled so I had most of them there right after school. The boys came in about 5:15 or so. Total 13 teenagers. The boys were all fresh and clean with neatly combed wet hair. They had decided yesterday that they needed to a shower after soccer practice and since our school has no showers and there was not time to go home and back they had brought their bathing suits, changed into them, and then literally hosed each other down with cold water. AND it was already cool, cloudy and windy here! They were very proud of themselves, figuring out how to solve that little problem. They took pictures which they showed me but unfortunately they didn’t download them so I can’t share them with you.

They were very hungry and devoured the raw veggies I had brought as my contribution to the “snack” table, they then hit the chocolate chip cookies from price mart (as requested) and then got to work before the Chinese food was delivered about 7:00

They had enough sustenance to get to work and work they did. It was another amazing night of creative energy and cooperation. Lots of laughter and lots of fun – a late night walk where young teacher/ Warren snuck up behind them and lurked in the shadows …scaring them to pieces when they noticed a hidden shadowy figure.

Friday January 14, 2011
Ahhh. Up till 10:30 with the tenth graders then Warren came in after his night school class and took over the chaperoning and consulting on the work on the mural. I went to the first aid room (which has a real bed and bathroom) and got a reasonably good night’s sleep until 5:00 am...then I got up and got ready for the school half day and parent conferences. I went down and saw all the sleeping “angles”. Just like last time they were spread out on a variety of inflatable and non inflatable mattresses. Up in the art room there was a boys “dorm” of about a half dozen packed -almost mattress to mattress -in the storage leg of the “L” of the art room.

Downstairs there was a small group in the AV room where our parent volunteer, S., I.’s mother, camped out with a combination of boys and girls and in the elementary library area where the mural is located two girls on a giant air mattress with one boy curled up like a cocoon in his sleeping bag at the foot of the mattress. Middle school art teacher Vincent, all 6’5” of him was stretched out on the floor on the cushion from the couch in the secondary library area in his sleeping bag with feet hanging over one end and his foot long dread locks hanging off the cushion onto the floor on the other. Warren was already up – I saw his empty sleeping bag in the computer room when I tip-toed through there on my way from the first aid room – counselor’s office – computer room to art room…all connected by doors.

I waited quietly until about 6:30 when Warren joined me in the senior library area and we put the kettle on for coffee and hot chocolate. C. was the first student up, then G.. Our whispers moved gradually to quiet talking and then we were joined by others and began turning on the lights. Sleepy heads joined us and soon the muffins were disappearing along with the left over fruit from the night before. Students had projects to present in their first period literature class so I couldn’t get them excused. Most wore their pajama’s to class. They came back for second period when we usually have art and some continued to paint others got dressed and finished putting away their sleeping gear. (Drivers began arriving to carry gear to waiting cars.) They came back after their algebra test fourth period and cleaned up all of the painting supplies, carried everything upstairs and left me only with the brushes to clean. They had done a lot of work; added more foliage, more details, shading etc. as well as more flowers, some birds, butterflies, ants and the all important jaguar. They even began revising the mangrove wall that joins their rainforest wall. But it is still far from done. I feel like Michelangelo...and the Pope...:"When will you make and end of it!” The students seem unconcerned. “We still have lots of time, Mrs. Campbell. We can work next year…you’ll be here next year?” “Yes, I will probably be here next year.” Big smiles – “see lots of time”. Yes, I remember those years of feeling there was “lots” of time.

The rest of the day went pleasantly with clearing my desk and sorting through stuff, putting things in order and washing brushes. While I was writing the “Thursday” entry above I actually dozed off and woke to find three lines of “l’s” across the screen. Fortunately, the fifth grade teacher came by and shared her pizza lunch with me and we discussed next week’s “Egyptian museum” they are making in their classroom. Later I had a pleasant parent conference with a teacher/parent and following our talk about her son we had a very good talk about early art education and the preschool lesson she was preparing. I gathered enough work to keep me busy for the three day weekend (MLK Day) and left at 3:30 with F. who dropped me off at home with all of my luggage.

D. had made soup the night before and so I had a bowl with her chatted a bit and then headed for bed about 7:30. I got a good 11 hours of sleep and got up and took my walk on the treadmill to get my joints moving -1.02 miles in 32 minutes.

I think I have caught you up. Now I plan to have a pleasant three days of washing, ironing, writing lesson plans, a few other “brain” work school projects and blogs and maybe doing some work in my new moleskin sketchbook – a gift from one of my student families. D has also ordered some new cable movie channels in English and they may be available today. The wind is howling through the casements, gray clouds are hanging over my mountains across the valley but the sun is trying to come through. I am wearing my sweat shirt “jacket” and my toes are a bit cold. It is like a nippy fall or spring day. I hope you are all warm and well. Adios, Beth