Fiduciary concerns stemming from Kreacher’s dental surgery led me to accept a Weekend School teaching gig. Remember Kreacher?
I got the job offer in a weak moment — I was looking at the $500 fang the vet took out of Kreacher’s jaw and thoughtfully preserved for me in a small plastic tube — and I thought, Hell, it’s only four weekends; I can do it.
But I can’t. Not well, anyway. Ostensibly, I’m covering an entire semester’s worth of material in four weekends, 12 hours per, but I don’t see how students can absorb so much so quickly. And oddly, there’s no set curriculum. The Weekend School denizens told me to “teach to (my) pedagogical strengths,” so I decided my strengths are (a) Sustained Silent Reading; (b) Outdoor Relay Races and Assorted Other Feats of Strength and Daring; and (c) Literature in Film. Happily, the other English teacher shares these strengths. Yesterday we combined forces; gathered the kids into one room with a projector, and watched 2.5 hours of glorious Sense and Sensibility (dutifully tied to a lesson involving Elements of Fiction and Drama.
It’s my favorite movie. The kids HATED it, which made it doubly gratifying. Weekend School is supposed to be a bit punitive — students are there because they failed a semester of English — so there ought to be some intrinsic Guantanamo-ness. If you’re a 15-year-old who’s dying to be playing video games; skateboarding; or spray-tagging public property, two hours of Emma Thompson walking across the field in a bonnet will make you think twice about flunking Contemporary Lit ever again. Not to mention Kate Winslet in sausage curls, playing the pianoforte, followed by my 30-minute lecture on Beginning Feminist Critique. Yeah, have fun.