I was recently reminded of those long, hairy novels they assigned at the end of the year in English for you to read over the summer. I remember, I would be so excited to have my summer, and then, wham! Summer reading assignment. And it wasn't just some thin little thing I could get skim over in a few days. No, I remember my summer assignments being, The Odyssey, Grapes of Wrath, and David Copperfield.
Did the teachers really think I was going to read those books? Me? When I had all that free time to sit in the air conditioned Rosepark public library and read what ever was handy?
I perfected the fine art of scholastic procrastination over those summers. I would get my copy of the book in June, and then it sat on my nightstand until two weeks before school started. Have you ever tried to read the Grapes of Wrath in two nights?
So, I also honed the art of scholastic deception. Erin calls it cheating. I call it survival in honors English.
My cousins and my sister and I all went to West High, one year after each other, so we shared the required novels. My copy of David Copperfield looks pretty trashed. And I never finished it. The Odyssey is in two pieces. I didn't finish it either. So it certainly looked like I had read them. (Well, someone had).
Just one small way to confuse the teachers with my sneaky ways.
I also observed something else that helped me. If you listen very carefully in class, the teachers will tell you exactly what they want on a paper. For a B anyway. So I took notes, and skimmed and I am proud to say I never copied any one's work or read a Cliff's Notes version of anything.
And I got a B.
So, as I begin another school year, I think of all those kids, scrambling with their Shakespeare and their Dickens, and my heart goes out to Mrs. Barnes and Miss Fowler.
Of course they knew what I was doing. Because they are not stupid.