The first few days of school have been a whirlwind. The first day I showed up to work with one earring in. I’d simply forgotten the other. The second day I got called twice over the intercom for not turning in my attendance on time. The third day, today, I read my watch wrong and released three freshmen boys to go to their football game at two instead of three. I mean, the big hand was on the twelve, give me a break. Thankfully it’s the first week and they’re still nice so they came back. Something is wrong in our cafeteria kitchen, so they’re feeding the 2300 students during one (yes, ONE) lunch Dominoes pizza from across the street. There’s flash flooding and also our classrooms are 64 degrees. That is the actual number on the thermometer in the classroom. Oh, and the construction workers took longer than expected so there’s only half of the normal spaces available in the faculty parking lot. So, y’know, typical first week.
The good news is I’d laminated most of the things on my wall, giving off the *illusion* of order and finality. Of course, teaching is the opposite of that – you’ve got to just embrace the chaos and be flexible at all times. The key to teaching is to make the clutter work for you. More on that later.
As the new sweet little freshmen baby angels trickled in, giving me their wide-eyed attention (that doesn’t last long) while I rambled on about books and made jokes to lighten the mood that they were too nervous to laugh at.
After a few hours back in the trenches, fighting my way through the giant high schooler stampede to get to the bathroom, I had to smile. All the familiar faces (kids are so much nicer when you’re no longer their teacher), blank composition books, and teacher friends made me remember how much I do love my job (usually), and the stress dissipated.
Day two, I’d met half of my crew. Some of the nerves came back that morning, but by the end of the day I’d met all of my kiddos and I was alright. I feel much more reassured. I’m lucky to be in a great environment. That helped. But kids saying silly things also helped:
Um, so I would recommend my summer reading book to adults because it has adultery in it.
…can you tell me what ‘adultery’ is?
So, Student A would recommend The Handmaid’s Tale to adults because of the adult…ery.
Student B, a 6’5″, 100-lb string bean, responded to me telling the class about my cat, Noodles.
Miss, I have a cat named Major Waffles! And there’s this cat in our neighborhood who looks like Major Waffles, so we call him Sergeant Pancakes. I’ll bring you some pictures.
Major WAFFLES. Dead.
Student C, when asked where he’d go if he could go anywhere in the world:
I’d go to New York City and punch Donald Trump in the mouth.
Student D, a sweet boy who I had last year and worked his butt off all the time, stopped by after school to talk to me. He didn’t quite pass his STAAR test, but he did much better than expected, especially on the writing portion. I told him he was close and that he should be proud.
Thanks, Miss. It’s because you taught me so good.
I mean, that is very incorrect, but also I cried a little.
Dear God, grant me the serenity to accept the grades I cannot change [because they never turned in their homework] and the courage to face the campus-wide emails each day. AMEN.