Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This is schmutz

I hate how crunchy my socks are after hanging to dry in my cold little laundry 'room'.

So you wanna hear something ridiculous? I've already written a little bit about this winter festival that's quickly approaching. To refresh your memories, each class is to perform for about twenty minutes. Everyone except the five year olds are to put on an entire twenty minute play. In English. With props, songs, and the whole shebang.

They sprung this news on us about three weeks ago and a week later gave us a selection of plays to choose from. We made our choices, made copies, and chose the casts. Some teachers sent their scripts home. And this was when the phone calls started coming in.

I want to say something disparaging and generalizing right now but I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Maybe you can even fill me in. Hell, maybe it's like this at home and I'm unaware.

So we had a staff meeting about two weeks ago where the boss-man said that each kid should have as much speaking time as the others. Think of their emotional state, he said, when they'll always remember that they were a tree instead of Little Red Riding Hood. If he was really considering their emotional state he wouldn't submit these youngsters to such an important, stress-inducing event.

People had to re-write their scripts.

Since then individual parents called complaining that their little Sally is better than her roll and feels bad, etc. etc. It's such garbage.

Let's look at D'Arcy's class as an example. She is doing a play about Tom Sawyer. Yesterday boss-man calls D'Arcy into his office with a grim look on his face.

"I don't know how to tell you this." He began. She thought she was getting fired.

"Kelly's parents called. You're going to have to rewrite your play. She went home and said to her mom and dad that although she plays a thief in the play, she's actually a good girl. They cried when they heard their precious darling speak such pitiful words. Anyway, Tom Sawyer was never a good play."

Okay, so I paraphrased from D'Arcy's paraphrase, but that's the general idea. Can you believe that? I guess there is no play in Korea with a lead actor or any kind of antagonist. You know, these kids are going to have to buck up and face the facts. Life is unfair. There's such thing as pretending. And it wouldn't hurt to smile for a goddam picture once in your life.

Today, for lack of a better word, I taught my kids the word "schmutz". It means boogers or snot. Why not introduce them to a little bit of Yiddish? We were learning about things you do and do not swallow.


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