It’s been unseasonably beautiful here in Northeastern Ohio. This past week we’ve topped 80 degrees nearly every day, and actually seen the sun, in all her glory. If you live here, you know that’s a pretty amazing feat.
Cabin Fever, then, is a common condition caught by those of us in the classroom during this time of year. We know that our anticipated Summer Vacation looms just over the horizon, but there is much left to teach and to do. The students, too, catch the virus and want to be out as much, if not more, than we do.
It’s this time of year and this type of weather that begins the “Can we go outside to do this?” question that most of us teachers get at least once a day. No matter how many times we say no, students ask because they are hoping and praying that just one day, one period our staunch resolve will weaken and we will relent.
I’ve been known to relent on occasion. If we are reading a novel and having a “reading day” in class. Once or twice I’ve taken a particularly well-behaved group outside and sat on the lawn in a circle to do a discussion. Another time we went outside to act out the dualing scene in Romeo & Juliet. I felt like while I had given in to the pressure I had not completely caved.
Not so with one particularly colleague this week. Which colleague, you ask? Those of you familliar with my “Tales” will probably guess correctly that it is, indeed, Farm Girl.
During 7th period yesterday while I was cracking the whip at my poor yearbook serfs, Farm Girl had her class outside. Students littered the lawn like the Cornicopia scene in the Hunger Games (sans blood, of course). They were splayed out, limbs flopped this way and that. My own son lay there with his T-shirt hiked up to his nipples and the sleeves crammed up inside themselves. (To “sun his guns” he told me at home. Please.) And in the midst of it was Farm Girl. Sleeveless shirt, flowered skirt. Yes, I said skirt. She lay legs spread, arms out as if she were making a giant human X on the lawn. This was Physics class. What were they learning, exactly? That a body at rest stays at rest?
This is just one of the seven or eight times this week she’s conducted “class” outside. It seems a little fishy to me, but I say nothing (except to Jeanday, of course).
This morning in the teacher’s lounge she gave us a weather update:
FG: Looks like it’s going to be another glorious day! (Yes, she said glorious.)
Me: That it does.
FG: I found this great NOVA video on YouTube to show my class today.
Another staff member and I look at each other, eyes rolling out of our heads. Of course you found another video.
FG: It’s about the sun and all it’s workings. We are studying the sun this week.
Me: Hmm…no kidding.
FG: Most of my classes don’t know how the sun works, so I’ve just thrown out the curriculum and that’s what we’re doing all week long – studying the sun.
Me: (in a low murmur) more like worshipping it.
Me: (audibly) So, if all your classes are studying the sun then you can probably show that video to everyone!
The other staff member has just taken a sip of his coffee. He chokes a little and sputters. Some may have gone up his nose but I can’t be sure.
FG: In fact I can show the video to every one of my classes: Biology, AP Bio, Physics. I bet I can pull some Physical Science in there, too. Ah…It’s going to be a great day, I can feel it.
Me: I can feel something, too. (Nausea.)