New experiences: a Byrnes football game.
To many people, the name Byrnes doesn’t mean much, but in the small town of Duncan, they are the big dogs in town, a clever dig at their opponent, the Boiling Springs’ Bulldogs. I was in an interesting situation; I live in Boiling Springs and teach at Byrnes, but I mostly just wanted to experience the “craziness” I had heard so much about. It was like Friday Night Lights a little, but not overly so. I was expecting a ten on the crazy scale, but probably only witnessed a six or so; maybe other games are different. Sure the crowd was big, but that was to be expected. The parents on both sides were passionate, but not overly dramatic. And the students were having a blast, which is part of the fun in small town football. And there’s nothing wrong or new about that. My high school football games were a big part of our school and community culture, and that was with a 500 student population and a medium football team; our rivalries mattered to us, and even though my parents don’t have any kids at the school this year, my mom still called me on Friday night coming home from the game.
When I first began the process of transferring to Byrnes, many people asked, “you know that’s a big football school right?” Or, “that’s a big football school. Just so you know.” The way they said it made me feel like it would be a “football” school where academics weren’t a priority. In my experiences there so far, that sentiment is far from true. I have been so impressed by how much academics are pressed there. While I realize I don’t have access to all the information nor the history, I must say
that I love this school and my little, windowless classroom. (The lack of window was almost a dealbreaker as my friends know and the principal introduced me to the faculty as the one they had to convince to come.) It’s not just a football school; there is success on so many levels; just look at the size of the band! (Also, it’s ironic that the referendum for school improvement was voted down [and I’m not looking to stir the pot], but apparently the stadium where I was sitting for the game is in such bad shape that the fans are not allowed to do a cheer where fans stop their feet; it’s structurally unsound.) Anyways, it might not be perfect, but it’s definitely not just a football school. Yes, they traveled to California (my students had to raise money to go) and yes, while watching the game, it was easy to forget it was just a high school team, but I still maintain that it’s not just a football school.
I love my students right now. I love the emphasis on new methods and dedication to student success. In a world where public school is barraged on a regular basis and headlines show teachers in trouble for bad behavior and the so called “evil” Common Core, there are good things happening in the classrooms; there are good teachers in our hallways; and there are teachers and administration who are doing their best to reach the children in this system.
Story time! A friend of mine who teaches across the hall from me came back from our pep rally to a sweet note on her board saying “Jenny and Stephanie was here.” She was so excited until the English teacher in her noticed the verb choice. Such bittersweet moments–an undercut victory. Fighting the colloquial, home town grammar patterns is so tricky when just about anything “sounds right.” At this point it even “looks right” since the texting lingo has affected our young writers to extreme degrees as well.
An even funnier story to me personally! When I got home last night from a church broadcast, Parker said, I’ve got some bad news. I’ll let the pictures below tell the story: