from Clay by Carol S. Lashof

Genre: Dramedy

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Aaron, male, a high school junior.

(Warning: Using this monologue without permission is illegal, as is reproducing it on a website or in print in any way.)


Hi. My name is Aaron. This is the beginning of my junior year of high school. I would like it to be wonderful. More likely it will not be. More likely it will be awful. That’s just a guess, but an educated guess, based on past experience. Not that I blame teachers. I love teachers. Some of them. My first grade teacher for instance. I still send her a birthday card.

No. I blame homework. I hate homework. And teachers who won’t give you extra time if you need it. And talking in class—because I’m a nervous wreck. Also group projects. I really, really hate group projects. You see, I used to get stuck doing all the work. Now I just show up late to group meetings and try not to do anything at all.

My relationships with my peers are problematic. You don’t need to point it out. I am fully aware of the fact. My relationships with my parents are likewise problematic. I don’t think I’ll go into that right now. The point being—teachers are actually the least of my worries. Except they give so much homework.

There was a time when we didn’t get homework. Well, maybe sometimes we had to write in a notebook or draw pictures but the spelling didn’t matter and my teacher always wrote me a nice note which my parents would read to me since I couldn’t read yet, and then it was like not just my teacher was praising me but also my mom or dad too, like it was my dad saying “I love your funny picture of the pumpkin”—or whatever.

Wouldn’t it be nice if that still happened sometimes? If, for instance, my bio teacher wrote a note on my lab report and my dad read it aloud: “I love your funny picture of the cell membrane”?

I miss first grade. Once we had to memorize a poem, and I didn’t even mind reciting it in front of the class, because I loved the poem:

Fly away, fly away, over the sea,

Sun-loving swallow, for summer is done.

Come again, come again, come back to me,

Bringing the summer and bringing the sun.

It’s not that I don’t try to do my homework. I come straight home from school. I mean, what else would I do? I don’t like “extra-curricular activities” and I don’t like “hanging out with the guys” and I for sure don’t have a girlfriend. So I come home. And I don’t watch TV because TV is stupid. I just sit right down at the dining room table and I take out my books and sharpen my pencils and I look at the list of things I have to do and I think, this isn’t so bad, what’s the big deal? And I think, today will be the day when I finish my homework on time—I’ll even finish it before my parents get home. And they won’t yell at me. And I won’t be stressed out. And after dinner I’ll listen to some John Coltrane, maybe, or Santana and I’ll go to bed at ten, and tomorrow I’ll be rested and cheerful and I’ll turn in all my homework and the rest of my life will be happy, and maybe I’ll even get a girlfriend.

Wouldn’t it be nice if that’s what happened?