Thursday, August 17, 2006

Acrostic To Bear

I'm clueless when it comes to freshmen. I make no pretense to the contrary. I don't get them and probably won't ever get them (if I'm lucky). So, as I was scrambling around these last couple of days, I started hounding my fellow English teachers, trying to get advice as to what to do (and not to do) with them. I got a lot of advice; I'm just not sure how much of it was useful.

"Don't ever turn your back on them. Ever."

"You gotta' let 'em know who is in charge. Try carrying a baseball bat around the room the first week."

"They have very simple brains. Kinda' like dogs. Except, dogs clean themselves now and then."

"Don't feed them after midnight."

"Just hold on for dear life. And, if you haven't already, you may want to take out a life insurance policy."

None of these pearls of wisdom were overly comforting. The only real bit of advice I got was from someone who taught Freshman English last year. She suggested I have them do acrostic poems of their names the first week (justification: it keeps them occupied, you might learn some of their names, you have something to hang up on the walls for Open House, and, whether you want to or not, you might just learn something about them). For the uninitiated, there are a few variations on the acrostic poem, but they're all essentially the same. For the freshmen, the advice was "keep it simple, stupid." Just ask them to come up with one word for each letter in their names and (hopefully) they will create a "poem" that says something about themselves.

Or something.

See the results below. What I'd give to write a little real commentary on them.

J esus
E ats
S ushi
S ometimes
E veryday

Make up your mind, kid. Does your lord and savior eat trendy Japanese dishes from time to time or habitually? I mean, I always knew he had a thing for fish, just not raw fish.

S o
T oday
E verything's
P retty
H orrible
E ven
N ow

I guess he's glad to be back in school? Seriously, though -- let's just skip straight to the Dark Romantics for this kid.

A ll
N ight
G reat
E xpectations
L urk
A foot

I complemented her for the literary allusion. Unfortunately, she responded that she didn't even know that there was a book called Night Great.

M ostly
E verything

I wonder if there's a schedule change form called "Remove Ted Bundy From Class"?

L ittle
A ssumptions
U pset
R evolving
E lephants
N owadays

This one's a rewrite. I wouldn't accept "Ass." Sadly, I think the original made more sense.

B ustin'
R hymes
E veryday
T ill
T uesday

Easy there Vanilla Ice. Don't wanna' lose your street cred by doing a school assignment.

K eep
A ll
Y our
L imbs
A float

Yes. That's always good advice, I suppose.

L ong
S tay
A wake

She finished the first minute and then took a nap on her desk.

D ustin
D U stin
Du S tin
Dus T in
Dust I n
Dusti N

There's my kid that confuses being clever with being lazy. There's one every year. Unfortunately, this is probably the last assignment this year that he will put his name on an assignment.

I guess the whole thing could have gone worse, but we're only in the first week. I've got an entire year to go with Freshmen, and I'm afraid this may have been my best day.

In keeping with the spirit of the assignment, I came up with this acrostic about coping with my situation.

H oping
E nough
L iquor will
P alliate

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