We’ve basically had non-winter in the DC area this year. Today, it is snowing. And not just a few flurries, not just a pathetic little slurry on the ground, I mean there is major accumulation and it’s still coming down. All that, and I am still at work.
This reminds me of an experience I had in teaching a class during my second year in the Peace Corps. I had this one class of seniors which proved that small classes do not always mean an easier teaching experience. There were a few good students and several shitty students, and the group overall was mainly just counting the days until they graduated. I had this one girl in the class, who was firmly in the camp of “shitty students.” We’ll call her Aria. My entire second year was an exercise in struggling, vainly, to get my students (all the students, not just the one class) to buy their textbooks, or at least get pages photocopied from the few of their classmates who had bought their textbooks. If you’re thinking I must have had an awfully difficult time teaching ANYTHING AT ALL to these kids if they didn’t even have textbooks, why, you’d be right!
Anyway, one day I was teaching the small apathetic class of seniors, and I decided that I would write the lesson’s vocabulary on the blackboard and let them copy it before moving on to an exercise that actually required them to use brain cells. That’s it: I wrote a bunch of English words on the blackboard and told the students to write the words in their notebooks. No translating. No grammar. Just some new words.
Most of my students got right to it. A few of them just sat there and acted like they usually did, e.g., like they would rather die than learn anything from a 20-something foreigner. So I kept telling them, look, just copy down these words before we move on with the lesson! Slowly, even the most jaded students took down the vocabulary.
Except Aria. Just sat there and giggled at…nothing. It wasn’t just that day; giggling at nothing in particular was what she did in my class, when she wasn’t yelling out the window at her friends in the courtyard. (In my less charitable moments, I assume she was laughing at me for being stupid enough to set foot in her school.) Anyway, even while her friends finally got around to the simple matter in front of them, Aria was still sitting around and wasting time, so I figured she just wasn’t going to do it, and I began to erase the vocabulary words from the board so that I could write out the next part of the lesson.
And that is when Aria stood up and said the Albanian equivalent of, “But, teacher, I didn’t get a chance to write down the words!”
The less said about what happened after that, the better. Let’s just say the lesson was fortunately at the end of the day, so I was able to go home and get drunk.
The point is that this weather reminds me of Aria during that lesson. It’s almost like it’s actively trying to prevent you from getting on with your business.