Thursday, October 4, 2007

Local 3

I have several posts in my backlog. I must post about the Day of Horror I spent in Newark Airport. In addition, I must post about yesterday, which sucked. Also, a post regarding my breasts is long ovrerdue. Plus, a long while back, promised a post on satan- and that one you will get. Soon, actually.

But today, to mix things up a bit, i will write about joy - and yes, I mean actual joy.

After I fiinish my morning classes at Panic (if you have not been reading, let me sum up by saying Panic sucks and I will not be working there EVER again) (unless of course they ask me and I need the money. Because I am, at heart, a filthy whore) - I take the train down to Soho and teach "effective communication" classes. To electricians.

Yes, reader, my source of joy is Local 3, the electrician's union that hired me, and the apprentices they hired me to teach. The students range in age from 17 to 40, and they share a common goal: the earn a college degree so that they are more promotable in the union. Most of them are ambivalent about college. After all, they opted out of college for blue collar jobs. They know full well that they do not need to be good writers to be good electricians. Most they feel their time and energy are wasted by these classes. On the other hand, they like getting anything for free - even an education. So they are conflicted, sometimes happy and sometimes hostile.

And there I am, a teacher so much like the others they've had and hated in the past: a woman wearing frumpy clothes and nerdy glasses, already worn out from teaching the Panicers. A woman iobsessed with sentences and vocabulary and syntax who knows nothing about their lives or their values or their ANYTHING they'd like to talk about. Spending three hours a week with my officious, snotty, verb-obsessed ass has to be AT LEAST as painful as the three hours a week I had to spend doing mathematics back in 10th grade. OW, in other words.

After the first day - a day I reserved for permitting them to vent about having to be there - the class has been the best part of my week. They are delightful. They show up on time and they are respectful, both to me and each other. They actually APOLOGIZE when they can't figure out how to say what they mean without swearing. (I don't even do that). They turn their work in on time. They take my bullshit assignments seriously. They laugh at my jokes. They actually even sometimes call me Ma'am.*

In short, I adore them. They are smart and serious and a hell of a lot of fun to hang out with on Tuesday and Thursday nights. But more than that, I get to teach what I want to teach, which is writing... no academic blah di dah ... just writing. My only charge is to "help them tell their stories". This, in case you are unaware, is exactly what every English teacher wants to do, but usually can't because she or he is too busy yammering about the correct margin width for MLA style or the conventions of academic prose.

At local 3? Screw academic prose. We just write. And it rocks.

* Yes, that stings a little, but for heaven's sake, I am 37. The shoe fits.

1 comment:

mohanalakshmi said...

I'm glad you have something fun in your day! Yesterday I started revising the dissertation again (chapter one for the 100th time). Sigh.