For many years my first day of class involved many important issues. By the time kids got to me, I figured they are tired of rules and how hard we all are, so in addition to learning all the names we learned some of the most important lessons of the year. Admittedly some of these popped up in different years, so I still have to apologize to the first group who didn't learn the royal wave and were upset.
How to talk Southern--You need to learn the basic principles of Southern speech because if you are going to mock me in the hall, I would like it done accuracy and some style. The basic principles are simple:
1. If it is one syllable, make it two
2.If it is two syllables , make it one
This solves most issues of pronunciation
But then there is how to say my hometown Louisville, perhaps the most butchered town in all of sports and news coverage to this day. You can get a shirt, a mug , a poster, almost anything with all the different wrong ways to say Louisville. First accept if you are not from there, you probably won't be able to say it perfectly. Second, realize it has to be done in such a way that it almost sounds like you have marbles in your mouth; slide it all together and it is 3 syllables, despite the rumor or the mispronunciations that it is 2.
lou uh vul
Next, know who to root for. This is simple. Who do you want to win tonight? You answer, "Anyone Kentucky is playing." Louisville is THE university of Ky because we are more than a sports program. Anyone not from there thinks Duke and North Carolina have a big rivalry or Army and Navy. Wrong. The biggest rivalry since the War Between the States (and I am not sure it was that big) is the one between UK and UL. If you marry someone from the other school you have a mixed marriage and fly a house divided flag(I can't imagine that sort of mixed marriage myself; all we would do is argue). Students' parents watch basketball and see Ky playing and mistake it for my team. This is immediately and usually loudly corrected by my student who often follows it with "She hates them more than anything." Someone once said,"But they are at least from her state." They said I didn't care.I don't. I hate them. Louisville people like the underdog; they like basketball players who get hurt all the time and still manage to pull themselves together as a team and win against teams they shouldn't beat. People left the Syracuse /Louisville game that closed Freedom Hall early because Syracuse was ahead maybe 20 points at about 3 minutes. We won. I never worry if we are going to lose until about 4 minutes.I almost prefer losing at half time. Louisville is red. And if you think I am wrong about the rivalry; we met in the NCAA this year and two senior citizens in their 60s and 70s got into a fist fight at a dialysis clinic where they were patients over the two teams. Enough said. We lost but then we did when that year Edgar Sosa got the basket at the end.
High school teams are just as important. Everyone roots for either St. X or Trinity and you don't have to go there or be Catholic but they will sell out the college stadiums. People won't get that either but Mr. Lazar filmed it and was amazed.
The Royal Wave--you need to know how to wave properly so you don't get carpal tunnel. They paid someone to teach Diana to wave ( and do other things, I guess) and that's what started this, so that's why some of you missed out on this bit of eccentricity. You need to know how to do this in case you inherit a fiefdom or marry into royalty; it is freebie with the tuition being what it is. If I yelled royal wave, everyone would do it. It used to be funny seeing some of the principals the first time this happened.
The Standing O--short for ovation. I stole this from Carl's middle school class.They used to yell "standing O" when someone knew something no one else did and I liked it so we adopted it as ours. I could yell, "O" and everyone had to do it, or a student could notice something noteworthy and yell, "O" instead. Some people kept track of them.
Finally, first day I have to learn the names. Names are power. It used to scare the big boys because they couldn't pretend I wasn't talking to them because I was calling their name and telling them where their sister sat four years before. Besides I like to know my kids and the first way to do that is learn the names, so the first day was the hardest for me because learning them all in one day takes for me an enormous amount of concentration because I can't learn the list ;that's meaningless, I have to learn the faces with the names. I felt it was one of the most important things I did because I think it started the year off with me saying that I care about you.