Monthly Archives: May 2012

Prom Fantasy

Tomorrow, my dear students will be attending our high school’s annual prom. They are abuzz with excitement, of course (or most of them are, anyway; we cannot forget those lucky ones hauled painfully along for the ride). For many adults, the event is one that brings back a slew of mixed memories. Ah, prom. Maybe it was a social scene we rejected, or an incident best left forgotten, but a lot of us can say we were there, awkward or not, and that it had some sort of meaning for us.

Whether we were the odd duck in the corner, watching everyone have fun; the girl who stressed all day over whether her dress looked just right, or if her nails were the wrong shade of pink; the boy who dragged his feet to pick up his not-so-spectacular date who he’d asked out on a dare; the popular kid who just went to hang with her friends because she was bored; the boy who went because his girlfriend finally said yes to the hotel room; or even the sassafras who couldn’t decide, taking two dates to prom—no, no, that wasn’t me, I swear <cough> ;)—there is some piece of the high school memory that we probably recall, and hopefully with smiles on our faces. It is a custom passed down through the generations, a celebration of what it means to be a teenager, and something that we hope they can enjoy as much as we did.

Prom itself is a fantasy, after all. For the girls, it’s often a preparatory process: dress, shoes, hair, nails, and maybe even a jewelry gift from a proud mother, beaming as she sees her daughter fancily dressed for the very first time. For the boys, it can be preparatory in clothes (though I have yet to hear a teenage boy share how excited he is to get dressed up for prom), but also in the pride of perhaps taking that special date on his arm, or even just going to hang with his pals. The corsage, the hotel room, the limo—all of it brings so much delight in a way that has usually never been felt before, an onslaught of glee, dancing, and teenage hormones churning about to music as they celebrate their youth. Inevitable drama will abound, but still the moment will live in each attendee’s memory…for at least a few years. Prom: the fantasy, the fun, and the dream for so many of our children.

So, as my students head out tomorrow night to enjoy their prom, I wish them a wonderful time. Be safe (in all ways, please), have fun, and enjoy your high school prom fantasy. It only happens once.

Or twice. 🙂

Now, for my adult readers—do you have any fun prom memories to share?

Join My Newsletter…and, From Math to English

Two topics for today.

First up: I’ve officially launched my e-newsletter!

The e-newsletter will be used as a way to announce publications and news related to my writing, and in time, it will provide information on appearances and events. It will be sent out about once a month to subscribers and is hosted by Yahoo groups.

To receive the e-newsletter, please send a blank email to: EvaRieder-subscribe@yahoogroups.comYou will receive a confirmation email with instructions shortly after. (Be sure to check your spam folder if you don’t see it within a few hours.) If you have a Yahoo account, you can also go directly to the group to join on-site by clicking here. Please join! You can unsubscribe at any time.

Next up: From Math to English!

While many of you know me as an author, you may not know that I am also a teacher by day. A high school Math teacher, to be precise. However…next year, I will finally make the transition into teaching English! For most of my friends and family members, this information came as no surprise—and more with a stream of comments along the lines of “Well, geez, Eva, it’s about time!” 🙂 While I’ve always been comfortable with and good at Math, I also tended to morph into “English girl” the moment I climbed into my car and drove home to write. So, becoming a hybrid teacher seemed like a good next step.

But how did this decision finally come about after ten years of teaching Math?

I suppose the idea bounced around in the back of my mind rather indirectly over the years, but in truth I believe it came largely from the inspiration I found in my Precalculus students last year, and most heavily from my fourth period class.

Engaging and fun, lively and clever, the class was one of my more memorable ones. I’m still not sure how it happened, but somewhere early on in the year they learned I had written a book. What delighted me was that their interest seemed beyond the traditional distract-the-teacher-from-the-lesson maneuvers when several of them kept asking me about it outside of class. I was honored to know they were interested! After many requests and conversations, I promised my fourth period class that I would have a “book jacket” for them to read by the end of the year.

These students were so enthusiastic—they checked in every few weeks and rooted me on. Having them interested in Eva Rieder the Human as opposed to Eva Rieder the Math Teacher was incredibly flattering and sweet, and so I did indeed share that jacket with them at the end of the year, and their excitement warmed my heart.

Then came the final seal: I had all of my Precalculus classes do a short writing activity to reflect on their experience in the course. In Math, we talk formulas, procedures, strategies, and applications, but we never really get to just talk. Reading the reflections of my four classes—their musings, their interests, and their challenges—was so extraordinarily inspiring; I remember reading them on a bike at the gym (no kidding) and thinking, “THIS! This is what I want to hear from my students. I want more of this!”

The very next day I decided to move over to English, a career change that would allow me to learn more about my students and the way they think, and that would also partner smoothly with my writing passion.

Teaching something so dramatically different will certainly require some adjustment; nonetheless, I am thrilled for the change. To be clear, I would never have gotten to this decision as easily as I did if it hadn’t been for about 92 wonderful, inspiring Precalculus kids.

So for all those students, I would like to send out a giant thank you. I’ve never felt so lucky to have such great kids in my classes!

Wishing everyone success with all their reading, writing, and number-crunching! 🙂


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