This week, with my ninth graders, we watched the beginning of Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. Though it may seem that I am eating time by showing vampire films to my students, it actually is a highly beneficial exercise in teaching English. It's a silent film, so they have to read the titles between scenes, and we can talk about Expressionism, the director Murnau, and also the fact that this film was actually filmed in Slovakia, in places where many of my students have been, including Orava Castle and the High Tatras. Here's one part, filmed in Orava (meant to be Transylvania) where you can see people in Slovak folk costume (starts at 4:00):
The whole film is available on YouTube, we watched the first 4 or 5 parts together in class
-- the Dracula is pretty amazingly creepy.
So next week, they'll have prepared some short presentations about various aspects of what we watched, and it'll hopefully be pretty cool.
Wednesday, I had 5 hours straight, which is normal for most teachers but not my schedule, so I was totally ready for lunch by the time 12:15 rolled around! I knew Tuesday that I'd have 2 substitutions, and both went really well -- one group was an entire class together, which is also normal for most teachers but not me, and they were delightfully cooperative so I was happy. The other group was a class I don't usually teach, and I asked their homeroom teacher at dinner the evening before if they were good, and she immediately said, "no." Alas, they were a joy to be with and we had a lovely time discussing the present continuous tense.
However. During that period, I took the cell phone of one of the kids, because on Tuesday we had a 5 minute over-the-intercom update of the school rules, which were all about how students shouldn't have cell phones. So this kid was stupid enough to have his phone out during class, and then lie to my face about having it, so I took it from him and gave it to his homeroom teacher. After I'd eaten lunch, I came back to school and was hanging out in the teacher's room until my after-school activity began. I might take this opportunity to note that until this school-wide cell phone sweep happened, the teacher's room was an absolutely sacrosanct kid-free zone. But now, because their cell phones are sitting on teacher's desks and in their drawers, they have virtually invaded the space with their beeping and vibrating and flashing. So. Homeroom teacher starts going through this kid's phone -- they all have music and pictures and videos and stuff on their phones. Some of the stuff on there was cute or funny, but then she comes across an album of quite naked Pamela Anderson pictures. This kid is in the 5th grade. Then, she finds a video of one of those Al-Qaeda beheadings. So she decided to not give the phone back until the parents came in to get it. Such things rather amaze me, because these kids are still very much still kids, and yet it proves yet again that people are generally very similar everywhere, and the same sorts of problems exist everywhere.