August 31, 2008

I Will Survive!

We made it through the first week of school. The whole week was surreal.

I received my keys Saturday morning, but I didn't get into my classroom until hours later because I was too busy selling pre-orders for yearbook. I opted to not spend any time in my classroom because I was hot and tired from sitting outside all morning, and I really needed to go buy shoes for the first day of school. (Yes, I know it's insane to buy shoes two days before the first day of school, but I was desperate!)

My sweetie helped me move some things from our garage into my classroom Sunday morning. With school starting on Monday, there wasn't much I could really do except have some place for the students to sit and something for them to do. It was a depressing morning, and it was all I could do not to cry. The room is so crowded with furniture--tables instead of desks--that there is no flexibility. Trying to get things to fit in a logical manner was like solving some sort of puzzle. Other things that depressed me:
  • My door would not shut.
  • Three of my computers have damage already.
  • My teacher desk must go where the jacks are, and it is in an inconvenient, awkward place.
  • My classroom echoes. The decorative features in the classroom are actually necessary sound tiles. (Yes, I'll be getting some. Someday.)
  • I could not get everything perfectly in place because the workers were still hanging bulletin boards and white boards, so I was trying to keep the furniture from being against the walls until they finished.
I was happy to finally see the students on Monday morning, and things went fairly smoothly. Above all else, we teachers conducted class like we always do. Except without any technology. Although some areas of the campus are not completed, classes were tucked here and there where they might fit, and we began the year. We are all extraordinary teachers who roll with the punches. Everyone deserves kudos for that!

I had some issues finding a restroom a few times on Monday. There is one in the office connected to my room, but it has no toilet seat on it yet. (The only faculty restroom in my wing is this restroom--and it's unisex. It can only be reached by walking through a teacher's classroom--mine and three other teachers. Weird, huh? I think it was originally designed to be a special ed restroom, as there's a shower there, too. Even with an elevator, it's not convenient to have our special ed students in wheel chairs upstairs!) I did find the faculty dining room with a lovely restroom. Slim on paper towels and no trash cans. Later in the day, this same restroom flooded, so it was closed. Frustrating. Lucky for me, the student restrooms are brand new and not too icky yet.

The flooding in the restroom actually happened before we had an afternoon deluge. About ten minutes after school ended, we were slammed with a severe storm. Workers were scrambling to move the wrapped pallets of things that were in the open quad--probably things from the main office which is still under construction, and we teachers hovered by the doors just watching it pour--and unfortunately, some teachers started setting out boxes and cans to catch the drips in the leaky hallways... Those would be the hallways that should not be leaking, as you might have guessed.

It took three days for our computers to be connected to the server. We use e-mail as a main form of communication, and in a time when things are all new--and many things still under construction, it was hard not having information. One night I spent an hour catching up on correspondence and news! Unfortunately, whatever updates I read at home, I'd often forget by the next day. I think it's something about being out-or-context. Or too tired to care.

All week long, I didn't even have anything on the bulletin boards. One of my English peeps came into my room and commented how it didn't look like my room at all. The truth is, none of us had anything on our walls until at least Wednesday, with the majority of us getting around to hanging a few things on Friday. In my desk I had 3 pens, 4 white board markers, and a tin of Altoids. My desk is usually interesting and well-stocked from day one! I didn't even have a stapler! By midday Tuesday I had a pencil sharpener, tissues, hand sanitizer, and my Mickey Mouse tape dispenser for students to use--and we finally had some trash cans in our rooms, too. I felt like I was squatting in someone else's classroom!

My classroom connects from the back (the office/faculty restroom) to the two Language B (foreign language) teachers, who happen to be my best friends at the school, but my hallway partners, the ones with whom I monitor the halls between each period, are MATH teachers. And sometimes they talk about math. I miss my English peeps. They are nearby, but not near enough to share woes and gossip in 5 minutes snippets every 50 minutes. I feel like an outcast. Oh! Except that 2 of the 3 teachers are close to my age, so I don't feel like the old one in the area anymore.

I should be writing about the students the first week of school. So far, they are nice kids. Oh! And we had a some great activities this week. It's just been a bizarre week, and I still don't feel like school has really started. That's not good.

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