In my classroom, we employ Reading Wednesdays. Really, it’s quite possibly the most brilliant thing I do in my classroom. It doesn’t matter if we left off mid-discussion of the roles of nineteenth century women as criticized in “The Yellow Wallpaper” on Tuesday…we don’t come back to it until Thursday. Nah, we don’t have nearly as enlightening discussions as that. The only thing my students took out of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is that in the radio play I made them listen to, as the woman is going insane she makes these heavy breathing and groaning noises that sound, well, let me just say my seventeen year-olds could not control their snickering.
So today was Reading Wednesday, and I read my UK book. And then at the end of class, I stopped to hand out some papers.
As I passed by a certain table in the front, a female student clears her throat, and I look over, and she is motioning around her head with her hand and then says, “Umm…you might want to fix your hair.”
As I put my hand up to smooth my hair, I realized that I had hair twisted together into large clumps and sticking out every which way. You see, when I read, I twist my hair. It started when I first got enough hair to twist and I have never (NEVER) stopped. If I’m using my right hand, I twist with my left. And vice-versa. Usually this creates a mess of knotted hair. I believe it is also a book litmus test for books — the more I am lost in a book, the more I will play with my hair without even thinking about it. I spin it. I twirl it. I knot it. This also goes for the following things: Concentrating during board games, watching movies, focusing during sporting events, and trying to get to sleep at night.
Today, for the full 45 minutes, I sat on the stool in front and twisted away. To the point that I could not even untangle the mess once the student pointed it out. I stood there, handouts under my arm, trying to run my fingers through the tangles and eventually had to give up.
My general classroom rule is this: If you have done something embarrassing (a common occurrence for me – let’s not forget about the time I spilled vanilla latte in my hair one morning and the sugar fused and gelled the hair on the entire left side of my head. Side note: latte-gelled hair is very hard to twist), it is important to just be MORE embarrassing. So, I combatted this moment of craziness by demonstrating to my students what my hair can look like after I’ve read a very good book. I twisted it up even more, piled it up, shook it out. Then I stood there and said loudly, “It’s Book Head!”
A few kids laughed (God bless them). But a cute little girl in the front whispered, “Between the radio play yesterday and this hair thing? I’m a little unsure about where this class is headed.”