Friday, October 23, 2009


In his English class this week, Michael and his classmates were taught how to write a narrative essay. And, specifically, an essay about what happened during the recent storms that passed our way. Well, imagine moi surprise when he wrote what also ended up being a reading report about the Litquake reading and his first attendance of a poetry reading! To wit, Michael's narrative:
Last week when it rained, my family and I traveled to San Francisco. My mom was due to give a poetry reading.

At first, the traffic was bad because of the rain. So we took many streets before we arrived at the apartment. Then we changed our clothes in preparation for my mom's and other people's literary readings.

Then we went to dinner. I ate chicken, shrimp and French Fries. Then we went to the gallery for my mom's performance. The gallery showed the paintings of many artists. The ones I liked had many colors.

After that tour of the gallery, the poets began to read their poems. My mom was one of four [actually six] readers, and she read last. I liked her poems about flamenco.

Once it was over, my family and I said goodby to the persons. Then we went home. It was not raining anymore.

The constraints on his essay were that each new paragraph would begin with phrases that facilitate narrative: "At first," "Then," "After that", and "Once it was over". It's a giggle, ain't it!

And I most definitely recommend where Michael "ate chicken, shrimp and French Fries" -- the Peruvian restaurant LIMON deservedly famous for its superb cuisine!


Unfortunately, in other academic (pun intended) matters, I recently was not as helpful. First quarter grades are being sent out this week and I apparently cost Michael an "A" in PE. What happened was he came down with a slight cold a few weeks back. So I'd suggested to him that day that he ask to be excused from physical activity in PE so that he can preserve his energies for soccer practice later that day; after all, I figured he'd get physical exercise from soccer.

Well, the PE teacher said (aptly, with hindsight) that if he wasn't able to do PE, he shouldn't be able to do soccer practice either. At the time, I thought the PE teacher was just defending his/her turf and thought it silly. So I brought Michael to soccer practice anyway (and the PE teacher saw him there!).

Now, in the real world, that's the kind of choice that one makes when one's trying to be effective -- and perhaps in the real world one would say my call was the right call. After all, his team would come to win a soccer championship and those victories are possible only because his team practiced, practiced, and practiced. But, I was wrong. I didn't think about the implications of discounting school, or of discounting a teacher's instructions.

So chalk it up to newbie-parenting. For the quarter, his PE grade fell from A to a B+ ... all because Mom was not as smart as she thought. Sheesh: I thought having to cook every day was hard...

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