Sunday, May 04, 2008

Duh Moments

I am sitting at Starbucks, grading tests and creative writing stories. I just finished one class' stories, so am taking a break.
I googled "what does SM mean in knitting" because these directions on the next part of my skirt were driving me insane. WTF is SM?!
"Slip marker". I just stared at the screen. "Slip marker". Boy, what a dumb ass direction. One of those answers and you think "boy am I stupid".
Anyhow. Some of the creative writing I got from these kids is just fantastic. We just finished up Song of Solomon, so I wanted them to write about a story they think is important to their family identity/history or a story they might share with their descendents years in the future. Some of these kids are a freaking riot. I really should PDF some and share them. One kid wrote about an uncle who tried home brewing in the ATTIC, except the hot temperature made the appartus explode and beer leaked from the ceiling onto the parents' heads. Busted!
More than a few stories about grandparents/parents emigrating from another country. Two from Bolshevik Russia, interestingly. Another bootlegger story. One story that absolutely floored me was short, but it had an O Henry twist. One boy wrote about his Grandpa Bill. Grandpa was part of a force pushing into Germany during WWII. Apparently they were all having a good time, drinking beer, when the order for silence came in. They ran out of beer and wanted more, but nobody wanted to run through enemy country to go back to base (completely disregarding the fact that they'd also just received an order to stay "still and silent"). I was laughing at this typical army humor and wondering what was going to happen. The men drew straws to see who'd get stuck going on a beer run. Well, Grandpa Bill got it and was NOT HAPPY, but off he runs back to base to get the damn beer.
I'm on page two at this point of the story. Grandpa Bill comes back and drops the case of beer when he reaches camp: there was nothing left. The camp had been bombed and obliterated during the fifteen minutes he was gone to get the beer. Here he was, thinking he was going to get shot at or die on a beer run, and he winds up being the only one to live.
I was laughing and smiling at the story one minute, and then the smile on my face literally froze and my mouth dropped open the next. Damn.
In my ninth period class on Friday, some students chose to share their stories and read aloud. One girl started crying with like two sentences to go at the end. !! The room went dead quiet and I was like OH NO, OH SHIT. It's totally not kosher to do this nowadays (hello, lawsuits for "inappropriateness"), but I wound up giving her a hug after class. She had written about her relationship with her younger sister. It's evident from the story that she just loves her sister to pieces, but you know how it is when you're teenagers -screaming and fighting all the damn time. I think she should totally share what she wrote with her sister, but she was like "No way! She'll think I'! She threw a shampoo bottle at me this morning!"
Grading these stories isn't hard, it's actually fun. I haven't given anything below a B at this point. I'm just not looking forward to grading the essay portion of a test from last week. THAT will suck.