Any teacher of Romeo and Juliet knows that Act 2, Scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet is a really really dirty one. Mercutio puns throughout the scene about body parts, both male and female. I attempt to lead the class towards these realizations on their own, using the notes in the margin (oh, so demesnes means regions, so he's talking about the "regions" next to "Rosalyn's quivering thigh," oh yeah, I get it!). Today, though, I had a bit of a slow class, so I found myself explaining way more than I wanted to. Later, when Mercutio says "If she is an open-arse, thou a pop'rin pear," I found myself using "phallic" in the classroom for the first time ever. And, you know what? They don't know what that means. I guess that's nice. The teacher behind with whom I share the room isn't shy at all, and she piped in with, "Like the Washington Monument" after I explained the definition. The next class, I just explained that a "pop'rin pear" is shaped like a sausage. Luckily, our book has a picture of an open-arse tree, so I didn't need to connect the dots too much there.
Just doing whatever I can to make this stuff fun for them. At least they laughed a lot today. And learned a lot, I would say - learned at least that Shakespeare isn't just some stodgy dead white dude; he's actually pretty raunchy and funny. Or, as the kids would say, he a freak.
Actually, Romeo and Juliet is a big hit with these kids. They clamor for parts, and the "You Be the Director" activity worked like a charm today.
And, my favorite joke, ever?
Random kid who wants a part (at least once a day):
I want to be somebody!
Me: Aw, Duquetta.
You are somebody.
I never get tired of it. Today, the kids got me on it because one said, "Hey, Mr. E, what's that word we learned earlier this year about someone who is trying to be funny but really isn't?"
"Are you trying to say that I'm unsuccessfully trying to be facetious?"
"Yup, that's it!"
"What are you talking about? That's the greatest joke ever."
The other joke I never, ever get tired of is whenever I see a kid wearing camouflage. I say, "Oh my gosh! I almost didn't see you! The camouflage threw me off for a minute."
Yes, I'm a giant dork.
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