Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Some fall on you like a storm...

Last two days of afterschool today and tomorrow. Wednesdays are packed - I have only one prep, and I have to do lunch duty, and then I have afterschool immediately after school ends. Today was worse than usual thanks to the suffocating humidity (we have no AC) combined with my principal being at the Regional Office, leaving more for each of us to do. The lab on momentum which we did in class today took much, much longer than I anticipated, though it was fun and generally worked well. Now I have to decide whether & how to re-organize the next few days to allow us to finish the lab and prepare for a quiz. By 2:20, I was hot, sticky, and grumpy.

I have been doing factoring and FOIL with my high school prep kids - that is, expanding expressions like (x-y)(x+y). This was one of my favorite parts of math, and my students like it - perhaps because it's just plain cool, perhaps because they feel special for knowing something that none of their classmates know, perhaps because they pick up on my enthusiasm for it. So, as we settled into the routine of afterschool, I relaxed into a much better - albeit still hot & sticky - mood, and was able to joke around with the kids and feel like good things were happening in that class.

As the afternoon continued, the sky started to get darker and darker. One girl commented that it smelled like rain. We kept the lights off for as long as we could, to keep the room cool and for the peaceful, quiet feeling it provided. Finally, we had to turn on some lights just to be able to see our work! And then the thunder started, and then the rain. The air cleared; we felt thick sheets of humidity lift from our shoulders, our skin cool and dry.

I used to be afraid of lightning. As I grew up, I grew out of this fear, partly by learning more about lightning, partly by moving out of my parents' house and away from the tree that I was sure would get hit and fall right into my bedroom window, partly by just plain growing up, partly by coming to appreciate a storm's beauty, partly by a general facing of fears. So today, as the students were solving a problem quietly, I wandered over to the classroom windows to look at the storm. Just as I reached the window, there was a huge crack of thunder and flash of lightning. I jumped at least 20 cm, seriously! The kids all laughed. I moved back into the center of the room.

I love the way a good storm can make a day feel exciting. And I love the lightness of the air just after a storm comes in. And I love the slight charge in the air when you're in the midst of a storm.

The title of this post comes from a song by a slightly obscure yet influential singer-songwriter:

"We've all got holes to fill
And them holes are all that's real
Some fall on you like a storm
Sometimes you dig your own."
-Townes Van Zandt


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"You give me love and consolation,
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Strange day or what? :-)

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