Monday, May 12, 2014

Age Matters

So there I am, subbing for 8th graders. Sure, sometimes they're belligerent. Sometimes they stare me down like I'm some kind of two headed maniac. Always they're glued to their phones like a gang of robotic half wits. But, mostly, they're fine. The only thing that gets a little old is the fact that there are six periods and I do the same thing OVER and OVER and OVER again. And usually it's some mind-numbing thing because the teacher didn't know ahead of time that I have a degree in Theatre or have taken extensive course work in English and Writing. This is a good thing if I ever sub for Alegbra or Earth Science or Boys' Weight Lifting. In those circumstances, I'd be thrilled to watch the first half of Stand and Deliver six times.

Today, I had to listen as the students (not so) dramatically read from the stage version of The Diary of Anne Frank. SIX TIMES. It wasn't all bad. One girl read Anne with a decidedly interesting English accent while, simultaneously, another girl read her mother with a Russian accent. Okay. We make artistic choices. Sometimes they're good ones. Sometimes they aren't. Like one boy's choice to read the part of Peter with a tone that suggested a great deal of pent up sexual frustration. It was a little uncomfortable and I just didn't quite know how to handle it.

The very best part came, however, when a boy playing Peter (not sexually charged Peter, a different one) said, "You're crazy. She's only 13."

The girl reading for Mrs. Van Daan replied, "And you're 16. Just perfect. Your father's 10 years older than I--WHOA!" The entire class erupted with mirthful hysterics at the mere thought of ANY couple being that far apart. She continued, "That is NOT okay."

I decided not to regale them with my own story. No need to tell them about the cradle robbing love of my life and the decade that separates us.

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