Well. Allow me a moment to push the hair out of my face and smooth down my dress. That was some wild ride.
Let me work this out. Today was Day 1 of a two week cleanse diet, worked out with my nutritionist yesterday. “When do you want to start?” she asked after explaining a somewhat complex schedule. “Tomorrow! I am ready for this!” I told her. So for breakfast I had my first of two detox shakes I had today and in the whirl of departure I didn’t notice any effect.
For once we arrived early, but this one time the key that would have unlocked the classrooms was half an hour away. When we finally moved into our rooms I quickly unpacked and the day began.
Just as I launched into my first problems of Algebra 1, two visitors came in to watch. One is considering tutoring Challenge B on a new campus, and the other…well, I still don’t know who she was! Visitors are always welcome because I can’t quite communicate what we do without demonstrating. Soon after, a potential student came to spend the day.
It was a little weird to find myself fumbling with the explanations in today’s four math concepts. Was it because I last saw it Saturday instead of late Monday night? That’s what I thought at the moment. But no fear–it turned out my Challenge B potential was trained as a math teacher. Cool, right? She asked to answer a student’s perplexity. In fact, she did really well with several queries. There were quite a few today. What was with that?
In Logic we swooped through our Truth Trees, some fellows working out harder ones on their white boards while the rest followed me at the board. We had an exhilarating time, but felt like wrung sponges coming into Literature.
A discussion of bloody entertainment grossed out the girls when we discussed Augustine’s story about the student who became addicted to gladiatorial battles. “We’re no different,” said the pastor’s son, who likened our blood-movies to the blood-sport of ancient Rome. I wrapped up a profitable, if somewhat distressing, discussion by pointing out the difference between men, who God formed for strength and defense, and women, who are born with tender hearts. We agreed to differ.
During my half hour lunch I tried to eat my salad, which was dry because I forgot my homemade fresh-olive-oil-garlic-and-lemon dressing, while answering a gazillion questions from my guest. Without a restroom break the next class was upon me. As part of a review I went over all the verb endings we have learned, disclosing my weakness with the passive. Now, my students know I am learning just ahead of them, but newcomers to the classical model would find my lack of authority at the board a little disconcerting.
But we nailed our translations. Yes!
About this time I took the second shake, a bitter concoction, and swiftly realized I was not going to make it through my first day of detox as blithely as I had imagined. Oh, my brain fog! I felt the beginnings of a headache–something I rarely suffer. Through the noisy, messy process of practice in Mock Trial, where students threw me smoking balls about court protocol and attorney strategies, my poise began to melt, leaving me wobbly on my feet. I craved my usual seat as judge, but instead I moved between two classrooms facilitating practices.
We finished with a simple lesson on Chemistry, and I really wanted to confess to the group that my head hurt because I was on a purification diet and that shake I drank was messing with my head, and that I really didn’t need to hear just at that moment that the 17yo found online that this simple Chemistry unit is outdated and flat wrong (which it isn’t), nor that one student didn’t have his homework done and why… The presence of visitors kept me from from whining. They were a means of grace.
So, my path today was littered with a whole baggage train of impedimenta and my progress through it was something less than a graceful dance. And yet, as soon as I step back I realize how amazing the journey of these young men and women has been. Their animation, their contributions, even their excessive comments all speak to me, saying, “It is well, it is well!” They think, they listen, they argue meaningfully. They have grown tremendously this year, and I am so very proud of them.
And that is why I do what I do.