I have no idea what sort of storm action is hitting Arcadia, but my area's been lashed pretty badly. My father and I were supposed to go see a Golden State Warriors game last night, but couldn't get out to Oakland because Highway 101, Interstate 580, and every bridge out of the Bay Area was either flooded or closed due to dangerous conditions. As it so happens, I need to take 101 to 580 - which includes one of those bridges - to get home tomorrow; here's hoping that something will be open within the next seven hours, which is when I'll be heading home.
As I write this, the entire town is powerless except for the first stretch of highway inside city limits, the fire station (which has been running on a back-up generator), and the small section that I live in (lucky us!). We're pretty used to this by now; so many of our power lines are built next to trees, and some of them are bound to fall over each winter when the windstorms/rainstorms hit. My town has cut down a huge number of its trees and foliage during the past five years - something that makes me more than a little bitter, as it's stripped the place of some of my favorite sights from my childhood memories - but this still happens each year. Usually we lose power for good, along with the rest of the town, but ours has flickered and stayed on (which is nice - I didn't want to pack by candlelight/flashlight).
I'm deeply sorry for the lack of responsiveness I've shown this break; I haven't been home much, and I haven't been computerizing when I have. It's been a good break - a wonderful break - but I've been very difficult to reach, and I'm sorry about that.
The college rec letters went out without a hitch; I still have a couple of questions for two of you, and I will pull you both aside at some point during class on Monday or Tuesday.
I am now the owner of a brand-new PowerPoint remote/laser pointer - the ultimate in teacher gifts! I look forward to prowling the whole classroom while nonchalantly flipping through the slides, pausing every so often to fire a crimson beam at the screen. It will revolutionize MacBeth.
Speaking of MacBeth, and the long-term assignment, the reason I haven't posted it is that I haven't finished the prompt. Mrs. Heinrich-Josties and I haven't been in contact over break, and I wanted to go over some things with her before I assigned you my variation of the assignment she's given out already. I've outlined some of my own ideas, but I'd like for the end of our class to dovetail a bit with the end of the other SFHP classes - especially since there will be three of us teaching the course next semester! At this point, however, the long-term assignment is going to differ from my original design, for a few reasons; I've narrowed the literary choices to Rex and MacBeth, and have focused more on social/historical issues surrounding the two plays. It would have been fun to work Beowulf in, but it isn't a play, and I feel that we've covered it pretty well already.
As for a couple of other things that people have asked me about, but I haven't responded to yet:
+ If your grade is in trouble, and you are committed to making up some lost ground, I will be holding extra writing sessions in the morning from 7:00-7:52am. Print out the entries you'd like to edit, and we'll go over some of the most pressing mechanical issues by hand. You can turn certain edited versions in for an improved score.
+ If your grade is really in trouble, we have another month to go before semester's end; write out some ideas for ways to make up some ground and meet with me before/after class to discuss them. Different students need to address different factors before semester's end, so I'll try to tailor this a bit individualistically for you. I obviously can't promise anything, since it's fairly late in the semester, but it's worth the effort. I may also be contacting you to schedule a meeting with your counselor and myself over the next week.
I'm going to tackle MacBeth more slowly than I took Oedipus. We're in the home stretch of the semester, and it's time to catch our breath as we move into it a bit.
Finally - Stephanie, Yang, Satomi, and all those who await my response to the questions they were brave enough to ask: There isn't anything that you absolutely need to have done by Monday. No assignments are due. The two-week break provides a nice opportunity for those who want to get ahead to do so by reading the first 1-2 acts. I wanted to provide guidance over break for those who chose to do so, but I haven't (for the reasons I mentioned above). Shakespeare can be tricky, but he didn't write plays that required his audience to be smarter than rocket scientists; there's a lot to unpack, and the language is obviously difficult, but it can - and will - be understood.
For those of you who have read it - or tried reading it: Is the language the most difficult aspect of the play? Are you confused by the setting? The plot? The characters? What do you want me to focus on first when we come back on Monday (besides, of course, the curse)?
Ummm..... after reading your post Mr.Feraco, were we supposed to read over the break?? I was absent the last day of school so I have no clue. I checked your blog over the break often and you never said anything about us reading to a specific point.