The pandemic shadow looms
I still haven’t entirely recovered from online instruction, I still get itchy if I hear word “Jamboard.” When we finished 19-20 online, we had six+ months of relationship to draw on, and no mandatory class meeting time. We figured out the pandemic together and it could be fun. But the 2020 class that started online was rarely fun, and it was near impossible to get to know kids. I gave it my best and my best didn’t really work. When that class left middle school last year, it was Goodbye, we hardly knew ye.
But now everyone in the building has only had me in-person, few wear masks, in-class testing is a distant memory. I’m the only one blowing a fan out the window to help air circulation (thanks, Joe Allen) and I’m getting boosted in a few days. But my co-teacher already missed Week One with a variant. Covid feels passé, but it looms. Will we ever have to go back to the online dystopia? The memory nags.
Looking at past intro materials, I was reminded it was just two Septembers ago we were in-person class was a novelty. What a bizarre hiccup in our careers, The Covid Year, for teachers The Covid Class. I have a bunch of their siblings this year, sometimes I think, I’ve known you nine days and we have more relationship than I ever did with your brother online. We never had an in-person conversation.
But the sixth grade rolls on because it has to. This year’s edition is catching on quick, so it feels familiar and fun. It all could fall apart when we introduce actual work, but I’ll ride the good times while I can. I’m optimistic, a good strategy for September or it’s gonna be a lonnnnnng year.
The Urban Blah
Back in 2009-11 I collaborated with the brilliant Vee to make a webcomic that failed to become syndicated across the globe. I am pro-recycling.
I have multiple rugs in my classroom, and the custodial staff agrees it’s my job to vacuum them. These days I have my own vac, but when I used to borrow one from other teachers, I’d have a kid return it and say, This vacuum sucked… which was exactly what we wanted it to do! Most giggled or snickered then failed to deliver their lines, a few came back glowing having gotten the laugh. Jokery immortalized in comic form!
Also, Vee has a substack, you should subscribe!
Jam of the Week
The Pleasure Seekers were an all female garage rock band in the ’60s and they only seem to have one album of their collected works, and it’s fantastic. They’re evidently best known for launching the career of Suzi Quatro who had a hit with “Can the Can.” Never heard of her, the song was not unpleasant, but I’ll still play my usual self and recommend the rawer beginnings.
My Back Pages
Today’s pages come from all the way back from summer. The Awesome Wife and I keep a running list of fun-sounding band names that come up in the course of conversation, any time a combination of words makes one of us say, That would be a good band name. Sort of a cousin of That’s what she said. Much of our phraseology could open for Yo La Tengo:
The Disney Hostage Situation Dead Bunnies Viscous Rhinos No Pie Just Salad Subpar Nectarine Misgendered Mayo Eighties Mercedes Faberge Weebles Bean of the Month Club Bagpipers with Guns Sloths and Slugs Runaway Truck Ramp The Murder Tub Dead Sheldon When Luke Perry Blew Up Guinea Pig Loop
At the Saint Grippinha street fair in the North End this summer, I noticed the policemen’s bagpiping corps was packing heat. Or the Wife was recounting her childhood cat trapping mice in the bathtub to finish off later. As a bonus, looking at it was a fun rewind through conversations of the summer; I remember how we got to When Luke Perry Blew Up, but Faberge Weebles is a mystery.
(Been trying to write a substack for weeks, have 3-4 drafts, none of which met my OH SO HIGH expectations. Not that this one is such brilliance, but this seems like a situation where you learn to swim by jumping off the dock. Enjoy my doggie paddle as I shake the rust off.