16 of the 27 freshmen testing in my room wear hoodies today. All of the males have sneakers on their feet except for two who sport shower sandals with socks. The girls have more variety: Keds, Uggs, Converse, Toms, and a few pairs of laced boots. Some shoes rest on the chairs in front of them. Others tapp on the floor. Some knees bounce while others cross and uncross. And, unfortunately, only five of them have books to read. The rest stare and wiggle, or put their heads down over folded arms.
Look at them, curved over their desks like cobblers. Heads leaning over while fingers squeeze tightly around yellow pencils. Ah, the factory model of schooling. They plod almost silently. There is an occasional sniffle, cough, or sigh. Pages turn. Erasers squeak across booklets quickly followed by the sound of hands brushing away the pink crumbs.
Seven skeletons hang from the ceiling, each representing a dead character in Hamlet. A skull in the middle for poor Yorick. I see college banners, more than one poster of Buddha, student work, and a rosary tacked to the wall as I complete a circle around the unfamiliar class room.
One poster silently protests with the words, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” How many of these kids feel stupid whenever they walk into this building? How long have they felt this way?
A thin cardboard protractor slides of a desk as a student turns a page. He reaches with his foot to retrieve it. He is wearing bright white basketball sneakers.
I have a particular question. Why am I wanting to write in simple present tense when I am describing things. Is this something I will grow out of? As I get to be a better writer, will I find other ways to try to make my writing more immediate?