The second day of school, the day containing the remaining three class periods, commenced with yet another excessively long session of Advisory (homeroom). After we completed our 'lesson' with an hour to spare, Mrs. S., my Advisor, elected to take us on a "field trip" to a nearby coffee shop. On the way there, we passed another Advisory class walking back to school. They seemed to be returning from Safeway.
After Advisory, I proceeded onward to fifth period Politics and Literature. Like Anatomy, it was a class that I had been placed in against my will, due to the fact that my original pick for an English class coincided with Spanish 5. I was the second student to enter the room, and when Mr. H.--sporting his characteristic bow tie (this one stripy), hat and tweed (I think) suit--declared that it was "open seating", I selected a desk in the second row--the safe zone: not too close to the front and not far enough back to be sitting amongst the creeps, jerks and jocks. I didn't expect too many of those sorts to be in this particular class, but one can never be too careful.
Shortly, other students began to trickle in, each asking some variation of the question: "Free seating, or...?"
At one point, the door opened and I looked up, bracing for the tenth "Free seating, or...?", and guess who I saw.
"Hi again!" I saluted him.
"Hi again!" N. parroted happily, dropping his satchel on the desk next to mine and immediately striking up a conversation on...something. I don't remember what.
A girl, M., from my Spanish class entered the room. I waved at her. She didn't notice me.
Mr. H. began with the daily agenda and an explanation of what the course was about. "Now, I know some of you signed up because your friends told you we watch the Walking Dead in here. We will, but they probably didn't tell you that you'll have to read Leviathan as a ticket."
"Now, I know you've just sat through two hours of Advisory--folks, it was the Advisory that wouldn't die! Stab it through the heart...!" here he mimed such an action "--so I won't ask too much of you."
He passed out two papers: the class syllabus and Mr. H. FAQs ("Now you, too, can know the real Mr. H".). "Those of you who've had me before, you've seen this already. I won't test you on it."
Upon reading aforementioned FAQ sheet, I learned that he owns over 30 bow ties--none of them clip-on, of course--which he wears because "they are distinctive and classy" and are never "dipped in a bowl of soup" like a normal tie may be on occasion.
Next, he went over the class syllabus. "There is no specific textbook for this class. However, you will be required to purchase three books: Starship Troopers; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; and Alas, Babylon. They can be hardcover, paperback, new, used or electronic--I don't care, as long as you have them in class when you need them. I'll give you adequate notice before you need to purchase them. Don't go out and buy all three at once." He ran his eyes over the room severely. "True or false: go and buy all three books at once."
"False," we chorused.
"Very good. You all have an A for today."
Mr. H let us out a few seconds early ("Quiet, now, like little mice. And go straight down the stairs, not past the other classrooms, or else I'll never release you before the bell again."), and we filed out of the room. The bell rang just as I reached the top of the stairs.
"Well," said I. "I managed to forget my Calculus textbook on the first day I had to bring it."
"Ohhh," N. groaned sympathetically. "That sucks." Then he smiled. "It's been so long since I've had Mr. H! Man, I love him."
"Yeah, he's pretty funny. Well, see you!"
And I proceeded on to sixth period AP Calc, sans textbook. Luckily, we didn't use them.
Mrs. A, the Calculus teacher, to avoid the hassle of passing things out, had us all circle around the room and collect seven papers from various locations. When we had all returned to our seats, we went over the sheets we had gathered.
"Let's start with the fun part," declared Mrs. A, holding up a yellow handout entitled "Calculus Introduction Song." This we sang as a group to the tune of "Doe, a deer".
After we finished with the handouts--the other six weren't songs--we signed up for times to bring snacks on Thursdays or Fridays. My friend-since-first-grade, E., and I signed up for October 3rd.
I may need reminding.
Then, we took notes on our first lesson (a review of knowledge obtained in Precalc and forgotten over the summer) while Mrs. A ran to get the cookies and ice cream from the staff room. When she returned, we lined up for improvised ice cream sandwiches and turned in our summer homework.
Next came lunch. I walked with E. to the cross country teamroom to retrieve her lunchbox, then we made our way to the commons to find the rest of our friends.
After lunch, I descended below to Fiber Arts. We had a sub (Mrs. D. will be gone for the next two weeks), and the sewing machines weren't set up yet, so we just sat around. The kid in the desk next to me smelled strongly of cigarettes.
I got out early from that class too, in time to meet E. when she got out of Statistics (yes, that girl is taking two math classes simultaneously). I asked her if she had anything planned for the afternoon, because I didn't--I was just going to wait around another hour or so until my bus came--and she replied that she was planning on starting the Calc homework. Did I want to join her?
"Sure," I agreed. "We'll just need to share a book."
Ten minutes later, we were back in the cross country teamroom, seated in the nice, padded chair-things that they had commandeered from the volleyball girls next door, the book open on the metal bench between us. We made descent progress, until we got to a problem that made no sense. We struggled at it a while, but it seemed insurmountable.
"Should we go ask for help?" E. wondered.
"Yeah, I think we should."
Bringing book, papers and pencils, we crossed campus, back to Mrs. A.'s room.
"Well," Mrs. A said, looking at E.'s work. "If f of x equals one over x, then wouldn't f of a be one over a?"
We supposed that was so.
We also supposed that we had been working with function notation for several years now and ought to know that by now.
"I feel stupid now," E. remarked on the way back to the teamroom. "Do you?"
I did, but not in an unpleasant way. I actually didn't care. I was in too good a mood to let it bother me.
I still think this is going to be an excellent year.