I was gonna bitch about this yesterday, but then I got pictures in e-mail and so wasted lots of time giggling like a preteen girl instead...
Two things stuck out about the first day of school:
My favorite class is going to be Creative Writing. Of course, I knew this going in. We did the introductions thing, and I think I managed to sell a copy of MHI to my prof (who scribbled down Larry Correia's name when I mentioned him). I mentioned that I blog--thus far, I am the only one willing to admit to this--and am writing a novel.
What we were supposed to be doing was giving our name, major, favorite authors, and experience (if any) with creative writing. It zipped through about half of the class. We have people who love authors as diverse as Phillip K. Dick, Ayn Rand, Stephanie Meyer, Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, and of course Stephen King (whom two of us claimed). One person even gave a nod to James Cameron.
Before we started, the prof told us "This is the only time I will tell you this in this class, but if you don't have a favorite author, lie!"
You know what's coming, right?
The last or penultimate student to do her intro said "I don't have a favorite author, 'cause I don't really like to read." (Shortly after declaring herself an Education major, of course.)
Blraurgh? Really? Then what, chica, are you doing in a freaking Creative Writing course? Do you think you won't have to read here? The poor thing, she probably crapped herself when she discovered we have three textbooks for the class (one being the 2007 ed. of Best American Short Stories). She probably also cried when the prof discussed the workshop aspect of the course: we will all be expected to turn in two fiction manuscripts for critique by the entire class. This means that each of us will be expected to read 44 short stories/novel excerpts. Due to the length requirements, this translates out to anywhere from 352 to 792 pages. Most of which, frankly, will probably be mediocre--if we're lucky. I look forward to this aspect of the class. I plan to submit this story and part of the novel I'm working on. I should get some good feedback.
I cannot imagine, however, having any interest in such a class if I didn't like to read. You cannot hope to be a good writer if you are not also a reader. It's really that simple. How on Earth can you expect to have the slightest clue about pacing a scene (or even what a scene is) without reading? How can you write believeable dialogue without reading unbelieveable tripe? How can you know where to end a story without finishing books? And why would you pay a couple of hundred dollars to be forced to do this stuff?
Shall I take bets on how fast she drops the course?
Now, the other interesting thing from yesterday:
The charter school my two older daughters attend has a brand-new principal. And he doesn't like the idea of us walking to our kids' classrooms to pick them up.
Here's a clue, as it's obviously needed by some people: Antagonizing the parents who care enough to be involved on your first day of school is an incredibly bad idea.
I would like to think I provided the others with some entertainment. See, they're setting up this spiffy new system wherein they scan your TXDL and up pops a little something saying whether you're a law-abiding citizen or a sex offender. It's for the good of the children, don't you know.
So we all expressed our willingness to be scanned, and then I asked the principal why that wasn't enough of a safeguard for us to be able to pick up our kids. Well, we can't risk someone just waltzing up to a teacher and demanding a random child, don't you know. "So, did we have a crime problem here last year none of us knew about?"
Er, no. But, he asked, have you ever seen a sex offender map?
Of course I have. And I also know that children are far more likely to be abused by a family member or someone they know very well rather than a random person who will apparently be able to wander into my child's school undetected and, even after being found to be a sex-offender when he has his TXDL scanned, will then be able to walk up to a random class, demand a random child, and be given said child, with no questions asked.
Either that, or he's trying to fix a non-existent problem. See, all of us managed to pick our children up last year without blood running down the hallways.
So, then, it changed. We'd be disrupting the learning that's going on right up until 1500. (Yeah, right. Because if my kid misses out on the last 5 minutes of her kindergarten day, she'll never be able to draw a line between the puppy and the dog house.) I said I like to interface with my child's teacher for a couple of minutes at the end of the day. Apparently, I only thought I was doing this last year, because in reality when I and the other parents who picked up their kid from Mrs Dudley's class were speaking with her, she completely lost control of her class. Nevermind that they all performed their end-of-the-day duties as well as can be expected from first graders, and Mrs Dudley would occasionally stop our conversation to correct one of them. Nope, we were disrupting the learning experience and endangering our children.
Either that, or Mr. Cuellar is a barking moonbat. I vote for that option. (And I'm damn tempted to play Dumb White Woman and murder the pronunciation of his name every time I see him. Hey, Mr Cellar!)
At any rate, I think one of the other parents and I are likely to get in trouble. We were discussing the implications of this policy shift as we waited for our daughters to show up outside. (For some reason, the idea of sending the kids who are to be picked up by their parents to the front lobby was rejected. Probably because it makes sense.) See, he never realized how crime-ridden the school was either. Apparently, kids were getting kidnapped left and right last year. We got kind of silly with it.
"Ooh, Johnny, you drew the target shirt. Go to the range now."
"The following children have been randomly selected to be kidnapped tomorrow, so if your child's name is on this list, you might want to keep him or her at home."
"They sent in the Roman legion to kill every tenth child without us noticing."
"If your child has been selected to wear a black shirt, don't bother picking them up today. Here's a list of adoption agencies where you can find a replacement."