Start of the school year usually requires that I am immersed, headfirst, plunging and free falling, swimming frantically for survival into a sibilant Shakespearean sea. Romeo and Juliet for third year, King Lear for fifth year, Hamlet for sixth and repeat year. This term is no different. Head down, eyes blindly open, I am competently, happily and often indulgently devouring the imagery only visible in the works of the Bard. Frantically tape changing, rewinding and clip downloading. Tapes are so such better than CD for this type of work! Themes of kingship control my thoughts. Imagery of disease and decay clog my breathing space. Corruption and chaos reign. This will be the course until good forces can possibly tip the balance and win in the end. Around October midterm tends to be the time a restoration of calm and order arrives to a renewed Denmark, a devastated Verona and a damaged Britain. We have lived to see a new day.
We haven’t abandoned the worlds of Othello, The Merchant of Venice or the evils existent in The Scottish play.
They are just not on our course this year. We know these turbulent tragedies boil and fizz away ominously, a pit of emotion veiled beneath a dustily ragged jacket, awaiting their time to retell their tales.
An occasional comic interlude intercepts the tragedy for fear we fall foul to an oblivion of disaster. .. this may be when my student calls Cordelia from Lear ‘Cinderella’ without a trace of irony. Ironic in itself as the play is awash with dramatic irony. Giggles are allowed in my classroom. Often encouraged. Would you believe!
I have been verbose and verbal all week. Lecturing. Explaining. Defining. Repeating. Occasionally ‘doing voices’ at the risk of my reputation.
Not complaining. I love it.
You couldn’t do it if you didn’t love it.
It is Saturday however and there is a lump in my throat. A pain in my ear. This is the teacher’s version of tennis elbow. It will pass. I am used to it. It is the chaos I must experience until order can be restored.
Until my voice box becomes used to the excessive taking aloud after the considerable amount of talking to myself or small children all summer. Gentler tones not booming commands. Wheedling promises as opposed to a strict ‘no takebacks’ oral discopline. A ‘no touch’ policy replaces the abundance of cuddles that accompany parenting. Compliments, constructive criticism create a cacophonous classroom.
It had to happen. It is a yearly event.
My speech has been obstructed by the growls of onomatopoeia. I look out the window at the teeming rain but can see the glimmer of a hopeful sun away on the horizon start a slow crawl towards our home as I painfully swallow my tea. Machiavellian treachery stalking my classroom and in turn my mind has manifested into physical personal pain. Assonance has put a cut to my gut and my mouth is shut. Speaking aloud is like slicing and severing sections of blistering, sun sorched skin. Personified. A cacophonos chaotic classroom has killed my fondness for phonics.
Ouch. Assaulted by the alphabet.
Being back in the classroom after summer has many benefits.
I love the subject. So much.
It is nice to have official breaks-where I can drink entire cups of coffee! It is good to feel clean. Mostly. Marker dust aside. I like my other role. I just know why Batman felt the need for two personas in life. The students make me smile. They challenge me. I am ready.
One price is the voice box. Temporary. A few choking in front of my class episodes will occur. I will get through.
This is no tragedy.
We will march on. Life’s a stage. We are merely players. With the occasional frog in our throat.