Tuesday, March 14, 2006

An Aging Teeny Bopper Speaks Her Mind

After finishing a surprisingly successful (and highly simplified) unit on fairy tales, I've moved on to somewhat contemporary literature. Last year, my class read the first three books from Margaret Haddix's Shadow Children series. If you have 6-8 graders, I recommend it. Very good books.

This year, to give my 8th graders a break, I'm teaching The Outsiders in my language arts class. They LOVE it. About three-fourths of the class is reading it independently and today, one of my students asked if S.E. Hinton had written other books. This is moment that is seldom granted to those of us who teach SDC. Our students do not tend to seek out opportunities to read. I am still basking in the glow.

At the beginning of the unit, I sent a letter home to parents and a contract for the final project. The letter detailed what the unit would include and had a permission slip for viewing the movie at the close of the unit. To date, I have had three mothers call to ask if they could come and watch the movie with the class. One asked me if she could borrow the tape when I was done with it. This did not come as a surprise to me.

You see, many of these mothers are only a few years older than I am. Movies like The Outsiders reduce us to swooning preteens again. The same thing happens when Rick Springfield or Duran Duran is played on the radio. It is unavoidable and uniquely female. The closest thing I could compare it to is the nostalgia a man feels, when he sees the first car he ever owned or the car he coveted as a teenager. In my mind, I refer to it as a bubblegum moment. I'm relatively sure everyone has them and I know they are triggered by different things. My late mother-in-law got a wistful grin when an Elvis song played. Jenny I. has them when "Ice, Ice, Baby" comes on the radio. (Yes, you do. )

I was too young to watch The Outsiders when it first came out. It was many years later, as a high school student, that I first saw the movie. I melted when Ralph Macchio gazed out of those wounded eyes or grinned slightly. I completely understood Cherry's claim that she could fall in love with Dallas Winston. I became a Matt Dillon groupie right there and then. In fact, my only real hangup about watching this movie is calling my husband "Dallas" at an inopportune moment. It could happen.

So I eagerly await the close of the unit. I've warned my class that I will probably cry. I always do when Johnny tells Ponyboy to, "Stay gold." I'm going to try to control the drooling over Ralph, Matt and yeah, even Patrick Swayze. The good news is it will be dark and I should be able to discreetly wipe the corners of my mouth.


Blogger jennyonthespot said...

Ummm... were you watching me at the karaoke bar awhile back? You know, when "Ice, Ice Baby" was sung by a not-so-like-Vanilla-Ice-person and I couldn't control the urge to get up front and dance and even join in on a few bars and share the mic :)

It's a fever, a fever... I wonder what the fever will look like when I'm 80 :)

I still think you need to come up here when the Retors are playing, they rock at Duran Duran covers!

8:38 AM  

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