Getting an extra three days off this week for Thanksgiving filled me with giddiness about 2:50 this afternoon. I deserted the school parking lot Superman style, faster than a speeding bullet. I picked up a few groceries for the upcoming Day of Plenty (of belly aches). I hit the gym to feel better about the distended tummy I will earn on said Day of Plenty. And now my house smells like bacon. All the preparations underway for brunch on Thursday took my mind off of the immense amount of reading that awaits me this weekend.
As an Advanced Placement Literature and sophomore English teacher, I will forever have a stack of essays to read, but I have a novel (for sophomores), a writing manual (for professional development), and some Dryden (for AP Lit) to catch up on before Monday rolls around. I almost feel like I’m in college again. Almost.
I could always pull a classic student move and watch the movie for the novel instead. Definitely read the Spark Notes for both the novel and poem. I can read and discover the novel with my students–not a tactic I’m afraid of employing. Sometimes it’s necessary for them to see me reading academically for the first time as well–it becomes a more authentic discovery process together. I’ll stick to doing the homework on Dryden though. Poetry is hard enough without me winging it.
By the time I’ve taught a novel a few times, I can tell the students what happens in each chapter without even cracking it open, like with our current selection in my sophomore class–Lord of the Flies. On Monday, I assigned my poor sophomores group work to connect the philosophies of Locke and Hobbes to particular characters in the text citing evidence from chapters 1-3. I could see their relief when I asked them to write a Gratitude List today and put the novel away.
Alas, reading Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken with them will not have me showcasing connections to great philosophers of the Enlightenment. Luckily, Captain Louis Zamperini, the hero of the novel, is a local hero and Olympic runner on which information is easily accessible. I can bring pictures of my son with Mr. Zamperini at the local airfield named for him. There’s a personal touch with this novel. But I will not be finished with all 400+ pages come Monday morning. As I have choices to make–read it all or spend time with my family on Thanksgiving vacation. So I’ve opted to read a little AND spend time with my family.
So tomorrow will be a day of baking. And hitting the gym again for good measure. Thursday will be a Day of Plenty. Friday, I will hide at the beach with one of my books–away from the orgy of Black Friday consumerism. Saturday, I will read and watch the LA Kings hopefully send the Chicago Blackhawks home with a loss (Go, Kings, Go!). Sunday, I will visit the Getty Museum with my son for his college Art History class project. And read some more. Vacations have a way with not being vacations at all in that every second is planned out with some activity. I may need a vacation from my vacation before it’s said and done. Maybe that makes it a vacation worth having though. I definitely have Days of Plenty for which to be thankful. And reading. Yeah, I’ve got some of that to do too. 😉