Outdoors / Tales Out of School


Outdoors / Tales Out of School

Sometimes being indoors is just too confining, and with no recess at the high school level, students have to work at getting what they need. The very best was when FHN had an outdoor classroom, maintained by the science department but available to all. It was a perfect place for writing poetry on a warm spring day. Once my students were settled and writing, I thought of a poem myself, and had to borrow paper so I could write mine, sharing the experience.

The school had two courtyards that were good places to sit and read, if the nesting birds weren’t too territorial. My Shakespeare students used the courtyard to enact scenes. The cement benches seemed fitting, and there was space to move around. Once our regular location, right outside my room, was locked up, so we went to the courtyard closer to the principals’ offices. The final scene of Julius Caesar went well, but not one administrator turned to look, as multiple deaths were enacted right outside their windows.

One spring fire drill was on such a beautiful day that students begged to stay outside, but the books were all inside. Two young men volunteered to bring the class set of Of Mice and Men, and soon all were seated on a curb, quietly reading. The principal gave us an odd look when we didn’t go back in, but seeing all well in hand, didn’t even come to question our tarrying. It helped that Mice and Men is so engrossing. We once were reading in guidance, as students were called to double-check their registration for the next year’s classes. A distraught student had a loud and active meltdown right outside the room, and not one student even looked up.

Some fire drills were less comfortable. I kept a small afghan in the room for anyone needing extra warmth. It would sometimes accompany a student out on a chilly day. Once it was so cold that I put my ESL students, not yet acclimated to the cold, into my nearby car with blankets (not turned on, because that introduced other temptations and risks).

The short story class read a short story on “Snow” and listened to Carmen Deedy’s story of her first snow in the U.S. We promised our Mexican exchange student, who had never seen snow, that if it snowed during class time, we’d go outside. When snow did appear during class time, it wasn’t the first snow of the year, but when I pointed that out, the young lawyers said I hadn’t stipulated first snow, so I sent them to get coat and we went out. They enjoyed it, and just as with little children, they were ready to return in less than ten minutes.

We also shared this story “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” and agreed that teleporting might be convenient and tidy, but everyone should still be able to go outdoors . . .


A2Z-BADGE-000 [2015] - Life is Good


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