Thursday, August 5, 2010

Back to School Blues

Do you remember how, when you were a kid, as you enjoyed those last glorious days of summer, your nights would be peppered with those weird anxiety filled back-to-school dreams? You know the ones. You show up to school hours late, you don't remember your locker combination, you can't find any of your books, or the classroom you are supposed to be in, and worst of all, you forgot to wear your pants!!!

As a teacher, I will periodically still have dreams like that, only it's my lesson plans I cannot find, and I have no students, or else, I have students, but they are expecting me to teach a subject I haven't prepared for, like calculus.

This year the dream came right on time, on the night of August 1st, which is the turning point where summer, at first seemingly endless, dwindles down to just a number of days. I dreamed that I showed up the first day of school, and my classroom was completely transformed--but not in a good way. It had been carpeted! (I am an art teacher and the thought of keeping carpet clean in an art room horrified me.) The windows had all been bricked in so my beautiful natural light was gone, horrible old cabinets with chipping paint replaced the new one I'd been given at the end of last year, all of my art supplies were gone, I hadn't even written any lesson plans, and, worst of all, I had no pants!!!

I decided to ease my anxiety and make a trip up to school. I could make a little list of the things I needed to do, maybe put up my bulletin board stuff, or even get started on my lesson plans for the first week. I figured this year I'd have a little more to do than usual. At the end of the school year last year, all of the teachers were told that the furniture would be moved out so that the floors could be refinished. We were instructed to make a detailed map of our floor plan and tape it to our chalkboards so that everything could be put back afterwards. Of course, I made a beautifully detailed, neatly labeled map. Even so, I anticipated there might be a few things I'd have to reorganize when I got back.

When I got to school, my anxiety was not eased, but heightened. I felt like I'd walked into a nightmare! The furniture was moved back in, but placed randomly through out the room.

I am not sure all of my furniture was there, but I did spot several cabinets and carts which do not belong in my classroom.

The contents of the cabinets, which I had carefully organized at the end of last year were stacked haphazardly on tables and placed in a nook at the back of the room which I had worked hard to clear.

The new tall wood cabinet which I was so pleased to receive just at the end of last year has a huge crack in the door. The floor, which was supposedly cleaned (the reason for destroying my room in the first place), had a huge water/rust mark on it. The windows were not bricked in at least. The old ones had been replaced with shiny new ones, but I found it hard to enjoy this improvement in all the mess. I wandered the labyrinth of my classroom, mouth agape, head shaking slowly, and then decided to just go home. When I met the maintenance man in the parking lot, he explained the water/rust stain. The roof over my classroom had been leaking, "water just pouring in". The furniture can't be arranged yet because the floor will need to done again after the roof can be fixed, hopefully next week. Hopefully? School starts in less than 3 weeks! When can I get in to do my bulletin boards, seating charts, and lesson plans? Sigh! I feel like crying, but I guess I should look on the bright side; at least I have my pants!!!

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