Seniors Rule

Last week of classes.
Say what?!
How the heck did time fly by like that? Absolutely crazy.
This week is classes, next week is finals, and the week after that is vacation time! I return home to Washington state on June 16th with my father. He is coming to visit on June 7th (just in time for my birthday on the 8th, and graduation on the 9th), after which we will take a three day trip to Petra, Jordan. 
I'm more than a little stoked about the whole ordeal.
So. What's been going on in my life?
Good question.
I suppose I should make my presence known here a bit more often.
The most exciting/notable thing to happen since my most recent update is that last Friday was a school "holiday." 
Seniors Rule the School Day.
It works exactly the same way it sounds. 
Two weeks ago at staff meeting, we were all told that on this day, we would choose one senior each to be us for the day. They would run around, teach all our classes, grade our assignments, you know, the works.
So, who was I going to choose?
Unfortunately, I don't teach many of the senior class. I am very good friends with several of them though. So, I made the decision to have Deng Pal teach for me.
Deng Pal is a 500 ft tall Sudanese bean pole that is known for his sense of humor and relaxed personality. He is one of the few seniors I have been pretty close with throughout the year, and is intimidating enough to hopefully keep my crazy younger students in line haha.

Here we are. My camera had a hard time choosing the exposure, for obvious reasons.
Deng Pal was ready for everything; he was cheerful and relaxed in preparation for the long day ahead. We started the day by grading papers (both of our least favorite activities). That lasted for a bit, before we gave up and just talked instead. My first class is psychology, which was super easy for him; all I had was a quiz, and all my (five.. haha) students are upper classmen who wouldn't give him a hard time. And they didn't. And it was good.

My second class is ESL Reading. I expected a bit of a fight out of them, seeing as they are eighteen super rowdy little boys who speak little English.
They were so good.
Tell me why I was annoyed for their good behavior? haha
Seniors Rule the School Day is kind of mutually understood as a day when the seniors think they will implement their own new rules to "improve" campus, and all the staff gets back at them by showing how difficult our jobs really are and how much they take us for granted.
When my ESL class which is normally absolute insanity to deal with acted like little angels, I felt like I was being jipped. I've struggled with them all year, and then a senior waltzes in and they are perfect? Now Deng is going to think I'm crazy for telling him my job was so difficult.
After ESL we proceeded to ninth grade writing.
Equally as good.
What the heck? Come on, students! haha
Not that I wanted Deng to struggle, but it is a good opportunity for the seniors to see how their behavior effects us, and how much effort we put in on a daily basis.
And Deng wasn't getting it.
After writing we had an all school assembly at which we always play music. Deng Pal is pro at the drums, and the students thought it was only fitting that I trade places with him and play drums.
I... don't really do that. haha
I mean, I did do that. haha. But I sucked. Terribly. Everyone laughed. 
Drums 1. Taylor 0.

So after lunch and assembly, we had my final class: ninth grade reading.
Now, the ninth graders had already been really good for Deng, so I expected their behavior to continue.
"Hey Deng, you wanna try teaching by yourself now? I'll stay here and grade?"
"Yep yep, ya miss. I can do it."
And so it began. 
I sent Deng off with the assignment, and left him to my class.
After the forty minute period ended, he reappeared at the staff room.
"So, how did it go?"
"Ahhh...man. I need a break."
At which point he fell over onto the couch, where he remained staring blankly for the next ten minutes. haha
Now, don't worry. He wasn't in any way emotionally/mentally damaged from the experience. But he finally got a taste of what my first few months were like here... everyday.
I felt (possibly not rightfully) vindicated.
We both had a good day, and although it was thoroughly exhausting, I'm glad Deng and I did our work together. He's a great kid.

On Saturday, the weather was hot, but not as stifling so as it has been for the past few weeks. 
It's been hovering around 104 for the past week or so, so the drop to upper 90's was a welcome change.
With the lovely improvement in heat, I spent a few hours outside with students.
It was so nice.
It's hitting me... only three more weeks of this.
Only one more possible Saturday to sit out on the lawn with them and chat and do whatever.

I chatted with a few of the girls for a bit, and then left to go sit in the shade with some of the guys I don't spend as much time with.
I brought my art journal, and spent some time drawing and talking.
It soon became the local interest, and students began gathering to look through it. 
Many of them wanted me to draw portraits of them, so those of which who could stand the sit I drew in my journal. Hopefully I will be able to share some of them with you all soon.

All of the trees are blooming with these stunning orange and red flowers. Sara and I commented on how beautiful we find them, and one of our eager beaver students ran off and ripped off several branches for us in an effort to please us.
We were a little less than pleased with his damaging the poor tree. 
But we didn't pass up the opportunity to play with the pretty flowers and take silly pictures. 

Sara laid one more big surprise on me.
My birthday is in two weeks, and Sara gave me my birthday present early: an Egyptian wolf shirt.
Now, we have a private fascination and extreme amusement with wolf shirts. You know, the kind of shirt with a hyper-stylized animal of some sort (typically a wolf) with a mystical moon or storm in the background. We think they are absolutely hilarious.
Anyways, Sara had her mom bring one with her from America of camels howling at the moon.
I was more than a little excited.

This week is all last-minute assignments and grading before final tests next week. Inshalla I will be able to show some of my portraits of students, but my laptop broke so I have resorted to using others. In any case, I hope to get back to writing a bit more about my last few weeks before my return home!

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